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Why we can’t change deadline for party primaries – INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it can’t change or tinker with its schedule of activities for the conduct of party primaries.

Speaking during an interview with NAN on Monday, Festus Okoye, INEC national commissioner and chairman, information and voter education committee, said any change in the June 3 deadline will affect other activities for the 2023 elections.

He said this in reaction to two-month extension of the deadline for the conduct of party primaries as requested by the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC).

“The timetable and schedule of activities released by the commission are derived from the constitution, the electoral act and the regulations and guidelines of the commission,” he said.

“The chairman of the commission, Mahmood Yakubu, made it clear that our timetable and schedule of activities and the terminal date for the conduct of party primaries are firm and fixed.

“The political parties are proceeding with their congresses and primaries. The commission will not tamper with its fixtures, as doing so will affect other activities and constitutionally-circumscribed timelines.

“Certainty is key to planning, and the commission is committed to its timelines. Political parties must brace up to the challenges posed by the Electoral Act 2022.”

Okoye, who added that the commission is already engaged with lots of activities, said it would amount to arbitrariness to adjust the election timetable over party primaries.

“INEC is preparing for Ekiti and Osun governorship elections as well as 18 by-elections, while party primaries are a small subset of work of the commission,” he said.

“The commission is engaged in procurement of sensitive and non-sensitive materials, and we will assess and renovate our state and local government offices.

“INEC will also receive, print and display thousands of nomination forms. Moreover, we have trained and deployed hundreds of monitors for the congresses and primaries.”

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