2023: INEC reveals why parties may not participate in elections
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has offered reasons why political parties may be barred from nominating candidates for the general elections in 2023.
WITHIN NIGERIA reports that the Presidential and National Assembly elections would be held on Saturday, February 25, 2023, while the Governorship and State Assembly elections come up on Saturday, March 11, 2023.
INEC’s timetable indicates that political parties are to commence primary elections from April 4, 2022, to June 3, 2022.
As a result, the electoral umpire has sent a strong warning to all political parties, 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.”
A statement by the INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, said candidates for all the nation’s 1,491 constituencies for which elections will be conducted must emerge from democratic, transparent and valid primaries.
The primaries, according to Okoye, must be in line with the provisions of Sections 29 and 84 of the Electoral Act, 2022.
The commission warned 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.”
As required by law, Okoye said it is compulsory for INEC to monitor all primaries as parties must provide 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 for the purpose of nominating candidates for any of the elective offices specified in the Act shall render the convention or congress invalid,” Okoye stated.
He added that primary elections must be held in the various constituencies as provided in Section 84 of the Electoral Act.
He described as a violation of law, the conduct of primaries outside the constituencies for which parties are nominating candidates, saying INEC will not monitor such primaries and the result will be rejected.
Okoye concluded by urging political parties to avoid acrimonious primary elections that could result in unnecessary litigations that may lead to failure to nominate and field candidates for elections in some constituencies.