The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has granted political parties’ request for extension of deadline for the conduct of primaries by six days for the 2023 general elections.
The notice of extension is contained in a statement issued by Festus Okoye, INEC National Commissioner, and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, after its meeting with the leadership of political parties in Abuja, earlier on Friday.
The commission recalled that the political parties at the meeting had again requested the Commission to review the timelines for primaries provided in the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the conduct of the 2023 General Election released on Feb. 26.
It recalled that earlier, the political parties had requested for extension of between 37 and 60 days of the timeline for primaries and the nomination of candidates, which it emphatically refused.
Although the commission said it could not grant the political parties’ request for time extension as it would disrupt other scheduled activities on the Timetable, INEC however, said it had granted their latest request for use of six days within the already scheduled time to tidy their internal party activities.
The statement said; “However, based on the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2023 General Election, the parties have now pleaded with the Commission to use the six-day period between June 4 and June 9.
“This, according to the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) is to conclude outstanding primaries and prepare to upload the list of candidates and their affidavits on the INEC Candidates Nomination Portal,” the commission said.
INEC noted that it granted IPAC’s request because the parties did not schedule any specific activity during this period of grace.
INEC added that the idea was to simply give parties time to compile the list and personal particulars of their nominated candidates before uploading same to the INEC Candidates Nomination Portal between June 10 and June 17.
“The Commission has decided to allow the request of the political parties since the six-day period does not conflict with the next scheduled activity which is the submission of the list of nominated candidates or any of the subsequent timelines which remain sacrosanct.
“However, this request is granted in respect of outstanding primaries only without prejudice to those already concluded by political parties. The Commission will not monitor already concluded primaries.”
It however, advised political parties to ensure that their primaries were free of rancour in order to meet the timelines for the remaining activities embodied in the timetable and schedule of activities for the 2023 general election.
The commission stated that after the conduct of primaries, the next critical activity for political parties was the online submission of the list of the candidates the parties proposes to sponsor.
“The list is expected to be accompanied by an affidavit sworn to by the candidates indicating that they fulfilled all the constitutional requirements for election into the various offices via the INEC Candidates Nomination Portal.”
INEC said that it would train officials of political parties on the use of the portal, and advised parties yet to nominate its officials for the training to do so.
“In addition, the Commission, based on past experience, has decided to train the political party officials to make efficient and effective use of the portal.
“The Commission will train four officials from each of the 18 political parties, making a total of 72 in all.
“Unfortunately, some of the political parties are still yet to submit their nominees for the training.
“The Commission hereby reminds such parties to do so immediately. The Commission wishes to reiterate that only electronically submitted nominations will be processed,” INEC added.