Zakaa Lazarus, Abuja.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has on Friday 27 May 2023, given political parties that are yet to conduct their primaries six more days to do so.
The National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee Chairman Festus Okoye, disclosed this shortly after a meeting with political parties,
Barr. Festus said the political parties had requested for 37 – 60 days extension of the timeline for primaries and the nomination of candidates.
It would be recalled that the commission had earlier said that there was no going back on the timeline released.
According to him, “based on the timetable and schedule of activities for the 2023 general election, the parties have now pleaded with the Commission to use the 6-day period between 4th and 9th June 2022 to conclude outstanding primaries and prepare to upload the list of candidates and their affidavits on the INEC Candidates Nomination Portal.
“The Commission did not schedule any specific activity during this period. The idea is to simply give parties time to compile the list and personal particulars of their nominated can before uploading same to the INEC Candidates Nomination Portal from 10th – 17th June 2022.
“The Commission has decided to allow the request of the political parties since the six-day period does not conflict with the next scheduled activity which is the submission of the list of nominated candidates or any of the subsequent timelines which remain sacrosanct. However, this request is granted in respect of outstanding primaries only without prejudice to those already concluded by political parties. The Commission will not monitor already concluded primaries.”
INEC, however, tasked political parties on the need to ensure that their primaries are free of rancour in order to meet the timelines for the remaining activities embodied in the timetable and schedule of activities for the 2023 general election.
Meanwhile, INEC also disclosed that it will shut down candidate nomination portal on June 17, 2022 at 6pm for Presidential and National Assembly nominations.
Similarly, the commission will on July 15, 2022 close that of governorship and states assemblies nominations.
The National Commissioner and the Chairman Voter Education and Publicity, Festus Okoye revealed this on Friday in Abuja during the INEC Press Corps one day forum on Ekiti and Osun states governorship elections with the Theme: “Elections Coverage in Nigeria: A Look At The Grey Areas In The Electoral Act”.
Mr. Okoye noted that any political party that failed to upload the list and personal particulars of its nominated candidates will not have a candidate for that particular position.
Speaking on the regulation of political parties, Okoye noted that section 29 of the Electoral Act gave political parties a total of 180 days to submit to the commission the list of the candidates the party proposed to sponsor at the elections, who must have emerged from valid primaries conducted by the party.
“The list or information submitted by each candidate shall be accompanied by an affidavit sworn to by the candidate indicating that he or she has fulfilled all constitutional requirements for election into the office”, he said.