If given approval by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the 2015 general elections will take place either in January or February of that year.
Chairman, INEC, Prof Attahiru Jega, dropped this hint at a two-day international workshop on “Ethics and Elections: Challenges and Institutional Responses” organised by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Foundation in Abuja.
Jega also canvassed direct line charge of funding for State Independent Electoral Commissions (SIECs) to make them independent.
Explaining why the 2015 elections might hold early in that year, Jega said the 2011 general elections would have been held earlier to allow for litigations to be resolved before the inauguration date of May 29 but for the voters registration exercise which preceded it.
He lamented that pre-election cases which dealt with disagreements arising from nominations and primaries had to drag on for years into the tenures of some candidates.
He expressed hope that the judiciary would henceforth not deal with such cases routinely but adopt a business-like approach.
He said: “The key challenge is when these cases go on forever; they are not given priority. Three years after, we’re still dealing with pre-election cases.”
Canvassing for Direct Line of Charge funding of SIECs, Jega noted this would ensure independence for the state electoral commissions.
He argued that “if their funding can be guaranteed like INEC’s, it can go a long way.”
On independent candidacy, the INEC chairman said it was a position which had been canvassed and which he supported but insisted that given the number of political parties, there was the need to set regulations, thresholds and benchmarks. “We’ve many political parties as it is,” he observed.