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Anambra Governorship Election: INEC Demands Valid Primaries, Qualified Candidates

National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Barrister Festus Okoye.

6th June 2021

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has advised all political parties intending to sponsor candidates for the Anambra State Governorship election scheduled for 6th November 2021 to conduct valid primaries and nominate only qualified candidates for the election. It warned that legal action could be taken against any political party that submits the name of a candidate who falls short of the required qualification as stipulated by the law.

According to a statement issued at the end of its meeting held on 4th June 2021, the Commission reminded political parties participating in the governorship election to hold either direct or indirect primaries between 10th June and 1st July 2021. Every political party is also required to forward the name of the candidate who emerges with the highest number of votes to the Commission as the party’s candidate. 

The statement, signed by National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee (IVEC), Barrister Festus Okoye, also affirmed that Sections 4.5(1) and (2) of the INEC Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Political Party primaries requires political parties holding direct primaries to make the list of their members available for inspection by the Commission’s monitors, their aspirants and party members.

For parties holding indirect primaries, the statement partly reads: “the list of delegates must be made available to the Commission as well as aspirants at least seven days before the conduct of primaries. Similarly, Sections 9(1) and (2) of the same Regulations and Guidelines require political parties to make available to the Commission the list of aspirants seeking nomination to contest for elective offices and the list of members of the election committee of the party conducting the primaries.

The statement reads: “Political parties are enjoined to conduct valid primaries and avoid acrimonious, opaque and skewed primaries leading to avoidable litigation. To this end, parties must screen their candidates. A political party that submits to the Commission the name of a candidate who does not meet the qualification as stipulated in the law shall be guilty of an offence and may be proceeded against by the Commission.”

On the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Area Council Election, the Commission will publish the List and Particulars of nominated candidates in their respective constituencies on 5th June.

It urged public members to check the published list on the Notice Board at any INEC Office in either the Constituency of Area Council where the candidate intends to contest.

Okoye said: “Any person who has reasonable ground to believe that any information given in the affidavit or any document submitted by a candidate is false may file a suit in court against such person seeking a declaration that the information contained in the affidavit is false. If the court determines that any of the information contained in the affidavit or any document submitted by that candidate is false, the court shall issue an order disqualifying the candidate from contesting the election.”