Nigeria's Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has released the timetable for the 2019 general elections, the fifth that will be conducted since the nation returned to democracy in 1999.Former military leader Olusegun Obasajno won the 1999 election and was re-elected in 2005 before handing over to late Alhaju Shehu Umaru Yar'Adua in 2009.
The commission also announced that election campaigns for all political parties and candidates seeking to contest for the Presidential and National Assemblies commences on November 18, 2018 and ends on February 14, 2019.
The INEC chairman further added that the REC was assuming office at the 1st quarter in 2018 of the ongoing nationwide Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise, an exercise which he stressed was critical to the success of the 2019 general elections.
He added that the conduct of party primaries for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Area Council election has also been scheduled for between September 4 and October 27.
He explained that the commission in compliance with the judgment of the Federal High Court has registered the Socialist Party of Nigeria ( SPN ) bringing the number of new political parties to 22 in addition to 46 parties already in existence.
According to the timetable, political parties were given December 3 and 17, 2018 deadline to submit their presidential and governorship candidates for the election while party primaries, including resolution of disputes arising therefrom, will hold between August 18 and October 7 this year.
Regarding the spending limit for presidential candidates, Yakubu said the Electoral Act was clear on the matter which "states that no presidential candidate can spend over N1bn, no governorship candidate can spend over N200m and no senatorial candidate can spend over N40m".
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The INEC boss said the commission would conduct elections for 1,558 constituencies made up of one presidential constituency, 29 governorship constituencies out 36 states, 109 senatorial districts, 360 federal constituencies, 991 state assembly constituencies, six area council chairmen as well as 62 councilor ship positions for the FCT.
The chairman said that the last date for submission of nomination forms by political parties has also been scheduled for December 3 for president and NASS elections, and state elections December 17.
Mr. Yakubu said that the INEC would on January 2, 2019 publish notice of the polls, and on January 7, 2019 publish official register of voters for the election.
Mr. Yakubu assured Nigerians that the commission was determined to strictly adhere to the timetable and implement it to the letter.
"And no such directive has been received asking us not to go ahead with Jan.13 re-run in Anambra Central Senatorial District".
He also disclosed that over 100 political associations had applied to INEC to be registered as political parties.