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CSOs warn INEC against altering 2023 polls timetable

By Matthew Ogune and Sodiq Omolaoye, AbujaGuardian Nigeria
21 May 2022   |   4:10 am
A coalition of 16 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) not to tinker with the timetable for the 2023 general elections.

PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP

A coalition of 16 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) not to tinker with the timetable for the 2023 general elections.

The organisations said doing such would portend danger to the integrity of the electoral process and would affect the conduct of the 2023 general elections.

In a statement, yesterday, they argued that primary elections processes started about three months ago when the electoral umpire released the timetable, saying “it will be unfair and inconsiderate if INEC, at this stage, changes the timetable”

They also frowned on the fresh attempt by the National Assembly to amend the Electoral Act 2022, which came to force recently.

Among the 16 CSOs are Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement (YIAGA) Africa, The Electoral Hub, Women Advocates Research and Documentation Center (WARDC), Centre for Transparency and Accountability, Women in Politics Forum, Enough is Enough (EiE) Nigeria and Partners West Africa Nigeria (PWAN).

There had been pressure on INEC, especially from the 18 registered political parties under the aegis of Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), to extend the deadline for the conduct of primary elections by parties.

But INEC, in numerous for a, has insisted that the June 3 deadline for parties to pick their candidates for the 2023 elections remains sacrosanct.

According to the parties, the timetable is part of the rules of the electoral process that ensure certainty and safeguard the integrity of the process.

The CSOs said: “The timetable for political party primaries, that is April 4 to June 3, 2022, has been known since February 2022 (three months ago), and parties have subsequently sent their own timetable to INEC and shared it with the public.”

The demanded that in the interest of transparency, accountability and integrity of the election, INEC, as an impartial umpire, must maintain its timetable, which was released on February 26, 2022.

“We commend INEC for the proactive and transparent way it has engaged all stakeholders, especially political parties, on plans for the 2023 elections and for ensuring that all stakeholders, especially political parties, have the required information in a timely and unambiguous way.”