The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has urged political parties participating in next year’s general election to ensure strict compliance with their constitutions, guidelines, the Electoral Act and other regulations and guidelines issued by the Commission.
The Commission in a statement signed by Festus Okoye Esq, National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee also said parties must ensure that names of their candidates for various elective positions are submitted on or before 3rd June 2022.
The statement titled: “Adherence To The 2023 General Election Timetable And Schedule Of Activities By Political Parties”, say it has accomplishedw two out of the 14 activities in the Timetable and Schedule of Activities.
He mentioned the activities to include the publication of Notice of Election which was done on 28th February 2022, and since 1st March 2022 making available nomination forms which are obtainable on the Commission’s website for political parties to download and issue to their candidates.
“The next activity is the conduct of primaries by political parties in line with the dictates of Section 84 of the Electoral Act for which the Timetable and Schedule of Activities provides a period of 61 days (4th April to 3rd June 2022).
While reiterating that parties must adhere strictly to the principles of internal democracy, drawing from their constitutions, guidelines, the Electoral Act and other Regulations and Guidelines issued by the Commission, the electoral umpire insists that political parties “candidates for the 1,491 constituencies for which elections will be conducted in 2023 must emerge from democratic, transparent and valid primaries, in line with the provisions of Sections 29 and 84 of the Electoral Act, 2022.
The Commission further states that where a political party fails to comply with the provisions of the Act in the conduct of its primaries, “its candidate shall not be included in the election for the particular position in issue”.
The statement further states that: “As required by law, the Commission shall monitor the primaries of each political party that provides the required legal notice in line with Sections 82 (1) and (5) of the Electoral Act. Failure of a political party to notify the Commission of any convention or congress convened to nominate candidates for any of the elective offices specified in the Act shall render the convention or congress invalid.
“Primaries must be conducted in the various constituencies as provided in Section 84 of the Electoral Act as it is a violation of the law to conduct primaries outside the constituencies for which parties are nominating candidates. The Commission will not monitor such primaries and their outcome will not be accepted.
“Political parties are enjoined to avoid acrimonious primaries that could result in unnecessary litigations that may lead to failure to nominate and field candidates for elections in some constituencies.