The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, yesterday, warned political parties pressuring it to extend the June 3 deadline to have a rethink because it will not be done.
Reaffirming its commitment to adhering to its 2023 election timetable, INEC also warned political parties of the implications of flouting electoral timelines, adding that “political parties must submit to the commission the list of candidates, who must have emerged from valid primaries.”
Vanguard had on Thursday reported moves by some strategists of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, to seek ways of getting the electoral umpire to adjust the timetable in its favour.
APC’s timetable and schedule of activities entail a series of activities that will culminate in its presidential convention, which will hold on the eve of INEC’s deadline, from May 30 to June 1.
The commission had given a June 3 deadline for political parties to conclude their primary elections.
The INEC warning came as fresh details on why the APC attached withdrawal letters to nomination forms sold to aspirants, emerged. INEC’s National Commissioner in charge of the Information and Voter Education Committee, Barr. Festus Okoye, in a statement, yesterday, recalled that on February 26, 2022, the commission released the timetable and schedule of activities for the 2023 general election.
The timetable provides for parties to conduct their primaries for the nomination of candidates from April 4 to June 3, 2022. He said in compliance with Section 82(1) of the Electoral Act 2022, all 18 political parties have served the required notices indicating the dates for their conventions, congresses, and primaries for the purpose of nominating candidates for various elective offices as specified in the Constitution and the Electoral Act.
According to him, some of the parties have commenced the process for which the commission has deployed staff to monitor the exercise as required by law.
“Given the importance of the exercise to the emergence of candidates for the various elective positions for the 2023 general election, it is imperative to remind political parties that they have one month from today to conclude their primaries.
‘’The deadline remains Friday, June 3, 2022. While urging the parties to ensure a rancour-free and transparent exercise, the Commission reiterates that the deadline is firm and fixed.
“Nominations for Presidential and National Assembly elections shall be submitted through the INEC web portal from 10th to 17th June 2022, while governorship and State Houses of Assembly nominations shall be submitted between 1st and 15th July 2022.
“Political parties are further reminded that they must submit to the commission the list of candidates who must have emerged from valid primaries.
“The commission will continue to work with political parties to ensure fidelity to the constitution, the Electoral Act, and the timelines for all the activities contained in the timetable and schedule of activities for the 2023 general election,” Okoye added.