By Nathaniel Gana
17th June 2020
There will be no extension of deadline for the conduct of primaries for all political parties interested in fielding candidates for the Edo Governorship election scheduled for 19th September, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu has said.
Speaking at the second virtual meeting of the Inter-Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) held earlier today, Prof. Yakubu reminded the parties that they must conclude their primaries for the nomination of candidates within the next 10 days.
His words: “The deadline is Saturday 27th June 2020. I must stress that the date is firm and fixed. There will be no extension of the deadline. While the conduct of primaries and nomination of candidates will be the sole responsibility of political parties, our officials will monitor the primaries as required by law. Already, the Commission has published the date and mode of primaries for each of the 15 political parties that indicated their intention to participate in the election.
“Similarly, there will be no extension of time for political parties that fail to submit the names and other details of the candidates that emerge from their primaries using the dedicated portal created by the Commission. For emphasis, the deadline is 6:00pm on Monday 29th June 2020.”
Arising from the Commission’s experience in managing the nomination of candidates for the last two governorship elections held in Bayelsa and Kogi States, the INEC Chairman said: “It is important to draw the attention of political parties to the four mandatory requirements for eligibility of candidates for Governorship elections enshrined in Section 177 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).
“A candidate nominated by a political party must be a Nigerian citizen by birth; must have attained the age of thirty-five (35) years; must be a member of, and sponsored by, a political party; and must be educated up to at least School Certificate level or equivalent.
“Adherence to these clear constitutional provisions is compulsory in order to avoid the unnecessary litigations that follow the nomination of candidates, some of which are still pending before the Courts. In fact, one of such cases involving the attempt to substitute an ineligible candidate by one of the political parties was determined only yesterday by the Supreme Court in favour of INEC.”
The meeting, which is the second in less than two weeks, according to the INEC Chairman, “underscores our commitment to the security of the forthcoming Governorship elections in Edo and Ondo States as well as the increasing number of off-cycle elections across the country.” Among other things, the meeting considered the draft of the reviewed Code of Conduct for security personnel on election duty, based on the report of a Special Committee set up earlier to ensuresynergy in the deployment of security personnel for elections.
The Co-Chairman of ICCESS and National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd) commended INEC for setting up the sub-committee to review the existing policy on election security in order to address the challenges posed by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Speaking through his representative, Mr. S. Galadima, the NSA expressed confidence that the new policy, when adopted and put to use, would cement the collaboration among security agencies and further secure the electoral space for peaceful elections in the country.