Primaries: APC, PDP, 16 others demand 37-day extension of INEC’s June 3 deadline

Primaries: APC, PDP, 16 others demand 37-day extension of INEC’s June 3 deadline

AREWA AGENDA – Nigeria’s 18 registered political parties under the aegis of Inter-Party Advisory Council IPAC have appealed to the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC to tinker with its electoral timelines and shift the June 3 deadline for the conduct of primary elections by the parties.

IPAC National Chairman, Engr. Yabagi Sani made the appeal on Tuesday in Abuja at the INEC’s interactive session with political parties

He said all the nation’s registered political parties including the ruling All Progressives Congress APC and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party PDP were unanimous in making the demand.

He said IPAC had all along, chosen to remain a reliable partner and a formidable pillar by being consistent in its support and defence of INEC on the series of administrative reforms and introduction of technology to the electoral system.
“It is within the framework of the enduring bond between the INEC and IPAC in service to the country, that all the 18 registered political parties on the platform of IPAC are jointly, without exception, requesting the INEC to consider a slight adjustment to the recently announced timetable and schedule of activities for the 2023 general elections.

“In summary, the General Assembly of IPAC, after an exhaustive examination of the INEC timetable and related issues, arrived at a unanimous decision to request for an extension of 37 days to the deadline of the time frame for the conduct of party primaries and resolution of conflicts arising from the primaries.

“By implication, the IPAC leadership is appealing to the INEC to extend the deadline for the conduct of party primaries and resolution of ensuing conflicts from the present INEC given date of 3rd June, 2022 to 4th August 2022”, he added.

According to him, some of the issues considered by the IPAC General Assembly which necessitated the call for extension in the timeframe of the present INEC timetable and schedule of activities are based on certain circumstances and developments that have hampered timely and strict compliance by the political parties to the timetable.

Some of the constraining developments which, we believe were not considered and therefore, not factored by the INEC while drawing up its schedule of activities includes the following:
The Christian Lenten season and the Muslim fasting in the month of Ramadan respectively followed by the celebrations of Easter and Eid El Fitr, (Sallah), in which the vast majority of party members were involved.

“The developments inevitably, therefore, greatly disrupted planned activities and programmes of the political parties, leading to the loss of about two weeks out of the allotted time of the timetable. It is also, noteworthy that, the scenario was the first time that the two major events in the Christian and Muslim calendars would be occurring around the period of general elections

The forthcoming gubernatorial elections in Ekiti and Osun states within the timeline of the INEC for the conduct of party primaries were additional remarkable distractions and constraints that obviously affected the political parties because, most of them are, understandably, preoccupied with preparations for the conduct of the elections.

“Very pertinently, the IPAC General Assembly regards the time allotted by INEC for the conduct of party primaries as too short in view of the efforts required by the political parties for effective and scrupulous screening and selection of qualified and quality flag bearers. The significance of a tidy selection of party candidates in the elections in the country and the unprecedented large number of aspirants jostling to emerge as candidates of their various political parties in the coming general elections, have made the task of screening very cumbersome and demanding. The political parties have also had to be cautious and painstaking in the screening and selection procedures as a safeguard against creating rooms for disruptive incidents of litigations by aggrieved aspirants”, Sani started

He said in making the request for extension in the INEC stipulated timetable and schedule of activities for the 2023 general elections, IPAC is not unmindful of the provisions of the Constitution and the Electoral Act with respect to timelines in the electoral process.

“We are, however, of the considered view that our request will not, in any way, tantamount to an infringement or, a breach of any extant laws and provisions. This is because, the alterations that we are demanding, will not affect the statutory dates already fixed for the conduct of the 2023 general elections”, he declared.

Earlier, INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu disclosed that all 18 political parties have forwarded the schedules of their primaries to the Commission and that some have commenced the process of choosing their candidates by conducting Ward and Local Government congresses.

“The period earmarked for the conduct of primaries by political parties commenced on 4th April 2022 and will end 24 days from today i.e. 3rd June 2022.

“Twice in the last two weeks, the Commission had cause to remind political parties of the necessity for strict compliance with the timelines for party primaries. I hereby reiterate the position of the Commission that there will be no review of the timelines. There are so many inter-related activities that are associated with the timelines which must be carried out. Any review to extend the timeline for one activity will affect other activities and put unnecessary pressure on political parties and the Commission. This will ultimately result in more complications than what the extension seeks to achieve.

“Therefore, the Commission will not review the timelines. Working together, we should ensure fidelity to the timelines in conducting transparent and Democratic primaries for the purpose of electing candidates for the 1,491 constituencies for which elections will be held on 25th February and 11th March 2023.

“In the spirit of working together to comply with the requirements of law, the Commission has prepared a document to guide political parties in the conduct of primaries and nomination of candidates for election, including a checklist of the documentation required for a successful nomination.

The guide is among the documents contained in your folders for this meeting. Similarly, the Commission has prepared a calendar of party primaries for presidential, governorship, national, and state assembly seats based on the proposals submitted by political parties as at Friday 6th May 2022”, he declared.

 

Source: Vanguard

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