The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has warned political parties to strictly adhere to the timeline for the conduct of primaries ahead of the 2023 general elections.
A INEC National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee (IVEC), Festus Okoye, gave the warning in a statement on Thursday.
He recalled that on February 26, 2022, the commission released the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2023 General Election, where it provides for parties to conduct their primaries for the nomination of candidates from 4th April to 3rd June 2022.
This implies that primaries conducted after the deadline won’t be accepted by the commission.
“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.”
“Some of the parties have already 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 3rd June 2022. While urging the parties to ensure rancour-free and transparent exercise, the commission reiterates that the deadline is firm and fixed,” Okoye said.
He also said that nominations for Presidential and National Assembly elections shall be submitted through the INEC web portal from 10th to 17th June while governorship and state houses of assembly nominations shall be submitted between 1st and 15th July.
“Political parties are further reminded that they must submit to the commission the list of candidates who must have emerged from valid primaries,” he said.
Okoye said that 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 elections.