Ahead of the 2019 general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has release the timetable for the exercise with campaigns beginning in November 2018.
The chairman of the commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, who announced the election guidelines in Abuja said the exercise will be conducted in 1, 558 constituencies across Nigeria.
The campaigns of political parties for Presidential and National Assembly elections should begin by November 18, 2018 while that of governorship and House of Assembly is December 1, 2018,” he said.
He announced that the last day for the submission of nomination forms by political parties for the presidential and National Assembly election is December 3, 2018 and December 17, 2018 for governorship and House of Assembly polls.
While the presidential and National Assembly elections are expected to hold on February 16, 2019, the governorship and state legislative elections will hold on March 2, 2019.
The INEC chairman also said the conduct of party primaries including resolution of disputes arising from the primaries takes place between August 18 and October 7, 2018 while forms for all the elections would be issued to political parties later on August 24, 2018.
Yakubu said the notice of election would be communicated on August 17, 2018 in line with Section 30(1) of the Electoral 2010 which provides that the notice of election be made not later than 90 days before the election.
Commenting on the permanent voter cards, Yakubu said efforts were being made to increase the collection of cards, adding that a portal had been created to notify registered voters when their PVCs are ready.
When asked how much the election would cost, he said, “This is being finalised and we will conclude when we meet on Thursday and thereafter, we can say how much the election will cost and we will finalise on the election budget and this will be known (to the public).”
Commenting on the spending limit for presidential candidates, Yakubu said the Electoral Act stipulates that a “no presidential candidate can spend over N1 billion, no governorship candidate can spend over N200 million and no senatorial candidate can spend over N40 million.
“The same Act further states that corporate bodies cannot donate money to political parties and no private individual can donate more than N1 million to any aspirant or candidate.
“The benchmark for financing campaigns is a matter of the Electoral Act. The provisions in the Act have no changed for all categories of candidates contesting election and we will stick to it,” he said.
On the budget for the conduct of the election, Yakubu said the electoral body would make it public after deliberating on it.
“This is being finalised and we will conclude when we meet on Thursday (tomorrow) and thereafter, we can say how much the election will cost and we will finalise on the election budget and this will be known (to the public),” he said.