INEC fixes date of 2023 presidential election amid calls for reforms

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed a date for the presidential election for 2023. INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, made the announcement at the inauguration of the house of representatives committee on the 1999 constitution review.

The date for the presidential election has been slated for February 18  2023.

READ ALSO – Reward for loyalty? Buhari nominates presidential aide, Lauretta Onochie as INEC commissioner | #TheYNaijaCover

What this means: Ahead of the 2023 general elections Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, had explained why Nigeria needs constitutional and electoral reforms based on worrisome factors stunting the process, participation, and performance. And, without said reforms, the electoral body wants to go on with the old ways of doing election in Nigeria.

Since the country’s return to democratic rule in 1999, hardly has any election held within the period, be it general or an off-cycle poll, been adjudged to be free, fair and credible. Nigeria has witnessed inadequate improvements for a growing democracy in the face of electoral fraud, violence, voter inducement, intimidation, bribery and corruption. The electoral process has become a shadow of itself and inspires very little hope and confidence for the future.

And, considering that this development is coming on the heels of an #EndSARS protest, we will want to ask if the electoral body is sending a message to young Nigerians who wish to be part fo the election come 2023.

We will recall how some young Nigerians have already pushed for a political party, an alternative to the two major political parties, All Progressives Congress (APC), and People’s Democratic Party (PDP), and how the move was said to be distractive of the protest demanding police reforms and accountability. But INEC could be sending a message.

Also, when you consider that the announcement is coming few days after President Muhammadu Buhari sent his aide’s name, Lauretta Onochie, to the Senate for confirmation, we already sense a withdrawal from actual electoral reforms.

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