By Enekorogha Godbless
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC has reaffirmed its commitment to conducting free and fair general elections in the country come 2023.
The electoral body also reaffirmed the election timetable earlier released by the commission for party primaries and general elections ahead of 2023. It would be recalled that on Saturday being 26th February 2022 the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2023 General Election was released by the commission.
This was disclosed by Festus Okoye Esq, National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee.
Tuesday 5th April 2022 Tuesday.
However, the Timetable provided detailed activities, such as the conduct of primaries, the nomination of candidates by political parties and other activities leading to the Presidential and National Assembly elections on Saturday 25th February 2023, followed by the Governorship and State Assembly elections on Saturday 11th March 2023. All the activities are in line with the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and the Electoral Act, 2022.
“It is cardinal to assert that 14 activities in the Timetable and Schedule of Activities have been successfully achieved. The Notice of Election was published on 28th February 2022 and nomination forms have been made available on the Commission’s website since 1st March 2022 for political parties to download and issue to their candidates.
Conduct of primaries by political parties is the next activity in line with the dictates of Section 84 of the Electoral Act for which the Timetable and Schedule of Activities provides 61 days”
The Commission reiterated that parties must adhere strictly to the rules of internal democracy, drawing from their constitutions, guidelines, the Electoral Act and other Regulations and Guidelines issued by the Commission.
“Their candidates for the 1,491 constituencies for which elections will be conducted in 2023 must emerge from democratic, transparent and valid primaries, in line with the provisions of Sections 29 and 84 of the Electoral Act, 2022.
“The Commission shall monitor the primaries of each political party that provides the required legal notice in line with Sections 82 (1) and (5) of the Electoral Act as required by law.
“Primaries must be conducted in the various constituencies as provided in Section 84 of the Electoral Act as it is a violation of the law to conduct primaries outside the constituencies for which parties are nominating candidates. The Commission will not monitor such primaries and their outcome will not be accepted.
“Political parties are advised to avoid acrimonious primaries that would result in unnecessary litigations that may lead to failure to nominate and field candidates for elections in some constituencies.”