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Avoid Acrimonious, Parallel Primaries, INEC Chairman Tells Party Leaders

L-R: National Commissioners, Major General A.Alkali, Mrs May Agbamuche-Mbu, INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu and National Commissioner, Mr. Sam Olumekun mni at the Commission's Regular Consultative Meeting with Political Parties, held in Abuja on 19th March 2024.

For the umpteenth time, INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu has implored political parties to avoid acrimonious primaries and stop conducting parallel primaries that produce multiple candidates. He also frowned at parties’ increasing tendency of granting waivers to candidates who, a few days earlier, were known card-carrying members of other political parties and nominating such persons to the Commission as their candidates for election.

Speaking at the first regular quarterly consultative meeting with political parties held at the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja on Tuesday 19th March, Prof. Yakubu observed that some of these infractions often lead to unnecessary litigations among party members in which the Commission is joined. According to him, the legal fees and cost of producing Certified True Copies (CTCs) of documents arising from such cases could be used more productively in other electoral activities by both political parties and the Commission.

Prof Yakubu also warned political parties fielding candidates for Edo State Governorship election that there will be no extension of the 24th March deadline for uploading their nominations to the INEC portal. His words: “The focus of today’s meeting is the off-cycle Governorship elections in Edo and Ondo States. As you are aware, the Edo State Governorship election is holding in the next six months i.e. Saturday 21st September 2024 while the Ondo State Governorship election is holding in eight months i.e. Saturday 16thNovember 2024.

“Already, party primaries for the Edo State Governorship election have been concluded. By the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the election, political parties have 20 days to upload the list and personal particulars of their candidates to our dedicated portal. We have trained party Liaison Officers and established a Help Desk for political parties. The portal opened on 4th March 2024 and will automatically shut down at 6pm on Saturday 24thMarch 2024.

“Two weeks later, only six parties have uploaded their nominations to the portal. We urge you to keep to our schedule of activities and avoid last minute rush that may undermine your ability to successfully nominate your candidates. There will be no extension of time beyond the deadline already published in the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the election, to enable us publish the personal particulars of candidates (Form EC9) on 31st March 2024 as required by law.”

He continued: “For the Ondo State Governorship election, party primaries begin in the next two weeks on 6thApril 2024 and ends three weeks later on 27thApril 2024. So far, 16 out of 19 political parties have indicated interest in participating in the election. I urge political parties to adhere strictly to your proposed dates and modes of primaries. Frequent changes as we witnessed recently during the Edo primaries are not only disruptive but costly. The Commission cannot mobilise, demobilise and remobilise our officials for the monitoring of party primaries at the convenience of political parties. Parties should stick to their proposed dates and modes of primaries for certainty and optimal deployment of resources.”

The National Chairman of the Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) and National Chairman of the Allied People’s Movement, Mr. Yusuf Dantalle pledged that IPAC would ensure that the Edo and Ondo goverborship elections meet the expectations of Nigerians and the international community.