INEC Meets Political Party Leaders, Briefs on Edo and Ondo Guber Election, Says Only Six Parties Submitted Nomination

The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu, said on Tuesday, March 19, that less than six days to the close of nomination for the off-cycle governorship election in Edo state, only six political parties have so far submitted the names of their candidates for the election to the commission.

Speaking at the first regular quarterly meeting between the Commission and the political parties, Prof Yakubu told the political parties to abide by the scheduled timetable as released by the Commission, insisting that there will be no extension of time for the parties to upload the names of their candidates to the commission’s dedicated portal.

He said: “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 16th November 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 6 pm on Saturday 24th March 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 to publish the personal particulars of candidates (Form EC9) on 31st March 2024 as required by law.”

Speaking on the Ondo governorship election, the INEC chairman said: “For the Ondo State Governorship election, party primaries begin in the next two weeks on 6th April 2024 and end three weeks later on 27th April 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.

“Similarly, political parties should avoid acrimonious primaries. Increasingly, the conduct of parallel primaries and the emergence of multiple candidates is a frequent occurrence.

“So too is the tendency to grant waivers to candidates who were a few days earlier card-carrying members of other political parties and nominating such persons to the Commission as their candidates for election. Some of these infractions lead to unnecessary litigations among party members in which the Commission is always joined as a party.

“The legal fees and cost of producing Certified True Copies (CTCs) of documents can be used more productively in other electoral activities by both the political parties and the Commission. We must find a solution to this situation.”

On the recently concluded by-elections, Prof. Yakubu said: “With the exception of two constituencies in Enugu and Kano States, winners have emerged from the by-elections and rerun elections.

“Again, like the 2023 General Election, the recent bye-elections and re-run elections also produced the most diverse outcome in terms of party representation. Seven political parties won elections in different National and State Assembly constituencies.

“In some cases, parties won elections in constituencies outside their assumed strongholds. We congratulate the winners.

“However, as you are aware, elections were disrupted by thugs in Enugu South 1 State Constituency of Enugu State and Kunchi/Tsanyawa State Constituency of Kano State. We are engaging with stakeholders, including the security agencies. Very soon, a new date will be announced for the re-run elections in the two State constituencies.”

In his remarks, Yusuf Mamman Dantalle, the National Chairman IPAC & Allied People's Movement (APM), declared that IPAC stands as a formidable unifying platform for political parties, promoting dialogue and cooperation on crucial national issues with a view to deepening and strengthening democracy in Nigeria.

This leadership of the Council is visionary, purposeful, vibrant, resourceful, accommodating and will take IPAC to the next level in the quest for a strong, virile, united, progressive, prosperous, equitable and just democratic nation citizens desire and deserve.

Leaders of Political Parties now have a transformational Executive that will always point the way forward in national rebirth, reorientation and reintegration of all marginalized compatriots. It will be a credible voice of the voiceless and will speak truth to power as the platform that produced all elected public officers. 

This is a patriotic duty to ensure rapid development of the nation and engage governments at all levels in the delivery of democratic dividends. Political party leadership dispute is strictly an internal affair of that party that should be resolved amicably devoid of Police harassment, embarrassment, intimidation and brutality. 

IPAC will ensure enforcement of the current Code of Conduct for Political Parties which will be reviewed to accommodate recent developments not captured in the Code of Conduct. When leaders of political parties and political office holders live up to expectations, Nigerians will have a breath of fresh air in governance.

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