… threatens to reject defaulters’ candidates
INEC National Commissioner and Chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has reminded political parties to adhere strictly with the April 4 to June 3, 2022 timeline for the conduct of primary election for the nomination of candidates for the 2023 general election.
INEC had on February 26 released the timetable and schedule of activities for the 2023 General Election in line with the newly signed Electoral Act 2022 and provided detailed activities, including the conduct of primaries, nomination of candidates by political parties and other activities leading to the Presidential and National Assembly elections on 25th February, 2023 as well as the Governorship and State Assembly elections on 11th March, 2023.
While some political parties such as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), have started the process of conducting primaries, others such as the All Progressive Congress (APC) are yet to commence any preparation for nomination of candidates.
Festus Okoye, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee in a statement on Tuesday said where a political party fails to comply with the provisions of the Electoral Act in the conduct of its primaries, its candidate shall not be included in the election for the particular position in issue.
Okoye reiterated that parties must adhere strictly to the principles of internal democracy, drawing from their constitutions, guidelines, the Electoral Act and other Regulations and Guidelines issued by the Commission.
He said:”Their candidates for the 1,491 constituencies for which elections will be conducted in 2023 must emerge from democratic, transparent and valid primaries, in line with the provisions of Sections 29 and 84 of the Electoral Act, 2022.
“As required by law, the Commission shall monitor the primaries of each political party that provides the required legal notice in line with Sections 82 (1) and (5) of the Electoral Act. Failure of a political party to notify the Commission of any convention or congress convened for the purpose of nominating candidates for any of the elective offices specified in the Act shall render the convention or congress invalid.
“Primaries must be conducted in the various constituencies as provided in Section 84 of the Electoral Act as it is a violation of the law to conduct primaries outside the constituencies for which parties are nominating candidates. The Commission will not monitor such primaries and their outcome will not be accepted.
“Political parties are enjoined to avoid acrimonious primaries that could result in unnecessary litigations that may lead to failure to nominate and field candidates for elections in some constituencies”, Okoye stated.