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INEC asserts benchmark for valid primaries

By Sodiq Omolaoye (Abuja) Kehinde Olatunji (Lagos) and Murtala Adewale (Kano)
06 April 2022   |   4:02 am
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has warned political parties against conducting rancorous primaries, saying it would only accept candidates who emerge from transparent and valid processes.

Festus Okoye

• Cautions against violation of Electoral Act, timelines
• Flays political violence in Kano

Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has warned political parties against conducting rancorous primaries, saying it would only accept candidates who emerge from transparent and valid processes.

National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter, Festus Okoye, gave the warning in a statement in Abuja, yesterday, following commencement of primaries by political parties, in line with the timetable and schedule of activities for the 2023 general elections released by the commission.

Okoye insisted primaries must be conducted in various constituencies as provided in Section 84 of the Electoral Act, noting that it is a violation of the law to conduct primaries outside the constituencies for which parties are nominating candidates.

He said the commission would not monitor primaries conducted otherwise or accept the outcome. Okoye noted that two out of the 14 activities in the timetable and schedule of activities have been successfully accomplished.

According to him, notice of election was published February 28, 2022, while nomination forms have been made available on the commission’s website since March 1 2022.

He said: “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 (April 4 to June 3 2022).

“The commission wishes to reiterate 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.

“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.”

Okoye added: “Where a political party fails to comply with 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.”

IN a related development, INEC, yesterday, raised concern over increase in political violence in Kano, even as it insisted the embargo on campaigns has not been lifted.

INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Kano, Prof. Riskuwa Shehu, disclosed this during a meeting with political parties, members of civil society groups and security agencies.

Although, the REC did not point at any party, he referenced recent killing of innocent citizens during political events in the state and urged parties to caution their followers.

He added that additional 8,074 polling units have been established across the 44 local council areas of the state to enable accessibility to voting centres. With the expansion, Kano now has 11,222 polling units.

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