Presidential Election Holds January 15 – N/Assembly January 8 – Govs/State Houses Assembly January 22

The much talked about 2011 general elections will be holding on January 15, 2011, according to the timetable and schedule of activities to be released by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, this week.

Documents exclusively obtained by Sunday Trust show that the presidential election will be holding Saturday, January 15, 2011 as opposed to previous general elections held in April since 1999.

The draft also reveals that the elections will kick start a week earlier with elections into the National Assembly on January 8 while occupants of the offices of governor and State House of Assemblies will come up a week after the presidential poll on January 22.

Should there be need for run-off elections for the office of the president and governor, the run-off election will be held within seven days of the announcement of the results, the document shows. This is in compliance with sections 179 (4) and (5), 134 subsection (4) and (5) respectively of the 1999 constitution.

Winners of the governorship and presidential elections are decided when a candidate scores the highest number of votes at that election and not less than one quarter of all votes cast in each of at least two-third of the local government areas of a state or of all the states of the federation and FCT as the case may be.

Where a candidate for the office of the president or governor fails to meet this requirement, there will then be a run-off election, which INEC now says will hold between the two candidates with the highest votes within a week of announcing the result. The winner is then decided by a simple majority. There has not been any run-off election for the office of the president or governor in Nigeria.

The final draft of the elections timetable and election guidelines, which will be released sometime this week, also shows that political parties will have to conduct their primaries and democratically nominate candidates for the elections as required by section 87 of the 2010 Electoral Act between September and 30th October, 2010.

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Similarly, INEC will issue notice of elections on the 6th of October in accordance with section 30 (1) of the Electoral Act which provides that such notice be given not later than 90 days before polling day while campaign by political parties in public will commence on October 10th and end January 7th for the National Assembly, January 14th for the Presidential and January 21st for the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly.

Collection of form CF001, which contains affidavit and personal particulars of candidates and form CF002, which has the party’s list of candidates will be between October 19 and 22.

Also, INEC has earmarked three weeks for the registration of prospective voters. The exercise is scheduled to begin on October 25 and runs until November 16. This is in pursuance to section 9 (5) of the Electoral Act. Display of the voters register for claims and objections will start on November 16 and end on November 23.

Collection of nomination forms will start on November 16 and end on November 19 while submission of same will be on November 27th for National Assembly, 30th for Presidential and December 11th for Governorship and State Houses of Assembly. Personal particulars of candidates into various offices will be published between November 23rd, 30th and December 7th while the official register of voters for the election will be published on December 9th.

Parties will have up to November 23 for withdrawal or substitution of candidates for the National Assembly, November 30th for Presidential and 9th December for governorship and state houses of assembly elections.

In the same vein, submission of names of party agents to the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) will start on December 31st and end on January 21st respectively.

The elections are to be held on the three different dates in accordance with Section 25 of the 2010 Electoral Act which states that, “Elections into the offices of the President and Vice-President, the Governor and Deputy Governor of a state, and to the membership of the Senate, the House of Representatives and the House of Assembly of each state of the federation shall be held in the following order: a. Senate and House of Representatives; b. Presidential election; and c. State House of Assembly and Governorship Election.”

A source informed Sunday Trust that the commission has concluded work on the timetable and will make it public within the week.

Culled from Daily Trust.

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