The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has turned down a request by the 18 political parties to alter the timetable for the 2023 general elections.
Recall that the Inter-Party Advisory Council, IPAC, the umbrella body of the registered parties, had sought the INEC to alter the timetable, saying that “certain circumstances and developments that have hampered the timely and strict compliance with the timelines”.
Reacting during a meeting with parties in Abuja, the INEC chairman said the commission will not review the timelines, reminding the parties that the period earmarked for the conduct of their primaries commenced April 4, 2022, and would end June 3.
Mr Yakubu said: “Any review to extend the timeline for one activity will affect other activities and put unnecessary pressure on political parties and the commission.”
He however acknowledged the fact that the parties had forwarded to INEC, the schedules for their primaries.
The INEC boss said: “This meeting is the first since the Electoral Act 2022 came into force on February 25 2022. It is also our first meeting since the commission released the timetable and schedule of activities for the 2023 general election over two months ago.
“Already, all 18 political parties have forwarded the schedules of their primaries to the Commission, and some have commenced the process of choosing their candidates by conducting ward and local government congresses.
“The period earmarked for the conduct of primaries by political parties commenced on April 4, 2022, and will end 24 days from today(yesterday.).
“Twice in the last two weeks, the commission had cause to remind political parties of the necessity for strict compliance with the timelines for party primaries. I hereby reiterate the position of the commission that there will be no review of the timelines.
“There are so many inter-related activities that are associated with the timelines which must be carried out. Any review to extend the timeline for one activity.will ultimately result in more complications than what the extension seeks to achieve.
“Therefore, the commission will not review the timelines. Working together, we should ensure fidelity to the timelines in conducting transparent and democratic primaries for the purpose of electing candidates for the 1,491 constituencies for which elections will be held on 25th February and 11th March 2023.
“In the spirit of working together to comply with the requirements of the law, the commission has prepared a document to guide political parties in the conduct of primaries and nomination of candidates for election, including a checklist of the documentation required for a successful nomination.
“Similarly, the commission has prepared a calendar of party primaries for presidential, governorship, national and state assembly seats based on the proposals submitted by political parties as at May 6, 2022.”
Mr Yakubu, therefore, charged the parties to be committed to “promoting inclusivity in the electoral process” by giving more opportunities to women, youths and Persons with Disabilities, PWDs.