The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room on Monday criticised the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission to extend the deadline for primaries for political parties.
In a statement jointly signed by its Convener, Ene Obi, and co-conveners, Asmau Joda and James Ugochukwu, the group warned the electoral commission to avoid future occurrences.
PremiumPolitics had earlier reported that INEC had, on Friday, May 28, 2022, announced an extension of the deadline for party primaries after immense pressure.
Following the extension, the ruling All Progressives Congress announced the postponement of its presidential primary.
“Situation Room is disappointed that INEC backtracked on its insistence of not extending the deadline for political parties to conclude their primaries and submit lists of candidates for the 2023 general election.
“INEC’s insistence on its earlier timetable compelled some of the parties to proceed with the given dates, despite flaws in their process. Turning around and extending the date meant that political parties that were lagging behind their preparations for the parties were now gifted with the advantage of better preparation that the earlier given date denied the other political parties.
“INEC should be seen to give level playing grounds for all parties involved in any election. Situation Room is concerned that INEC’s action in shifting deadlines and schedules for the election may be interpreted as a show of bias – a perception that does not help in building a reputation of an impartial umpire ahead of the 2023 general election.
“Situation Room calls on INEC to refrain from any future action that may intensify perceptions of bias or unfairness, as we head to the general election in 2023,” the group said.