The Independent National Electoral Commission on Friday bowed to pressure from political parties seeking the extension of the June 3 deadline for the conduct of primary elections by approving an additional six days extension.
The electoral umpire, however, clarified that the extension is granted in respect of outstanding primaries only and not those already concluded.
The INEC Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, made this known in a statement issued on Friday night after the meeting of the commission and the leadership of the 18 registered political parties under the aegis of the Inter-Party Advisory Council in Abuja.
The statement read in part, “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 other 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.”
Read the full statement:
The Independent National Electoral Commission met with the leadership of political parties today Friday, May 27, 2022. Once again, the political parties requested the commission to review the timelines for political party primaries provided in the timetable and schedule of activities for the conduct of the 2023 general election released on Saturday, February 26.2022.
Earlier, the political parties had requested for 37 – 60 days extension of the timeline for primaries and the nomination of candidates. The commission was emphatic that this request could not be granted because it would disrupt other scheduled activities on the timetable. This position of the commission has not changed.
However, based on the timetable and schedule of activities for the 2023 general election, the parties have now pleaded with the commission to use the six-day period between June 4-9 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 candidates before uploading same to the INEC candidates nomination portal from June 10-17 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.”
The INEC candidates nomination portal
After the conduct of primaries, the next critical activity for political parties is the online submission of the list of the candidates the party proposes to sponsor which shall be accompanied by an affidavit sworn to by the candidates indicating that they fulfilled all the constitutional requirements for election into the various offices via the INEC candidates nomination portal.
In addition, the commission, based on past experience, has decided to train the political party officials to make efficient and effective use of the portal. The commission will train four officials from each of the 18 political parties, making a total of 72 in all.
Unfortunately, some of the political parties are still yet to submit their nominees for the training. The commission hereby reminds such parties to do so immediately. The commission wishes to reiterate that only electronically submitted nominations will be processed.
Political parties are therefore advised 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.