INEC reacts to calls for extension of party primaries

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INEC Chairman Mahmood Yakubu
INEC Chairman Mahmood Yakubu

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has rejected an application by the 18 registered political parties, made through the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), for a postponement of the party primary deadline.

The parties made the appeal at INEC's second quarterly consultative meeting with political parties in 2022, which took place on Tuesday.

After President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Electoral Act of 2022, INEC revised its programs for the 2023 general election in February.

The commission set aside April 4 to June 3 to hold party primaries in accordance with the new legislation. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has rejected a request for a deadline extension made by the 18 registered political parties through the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC).

Last week, the commission had maintained that the deadline for the conduct of primaries remains “firm and fixed”.

IPAC chairman Yabagi Sani, speaking at the meeting on Tuesday, cited the Easter and Eid El Fitr (Sallah) holidays, as well as distractions from election preparations in Ekiti and Osun, as reasons for requesting the deadline extension.

“All the eighteen registered political parties on the platform of IPAC are jointly, without exception, requesting the INEC to consider a slight adjustment to the recently announced timetable and schedule of activities for the 2023 general elections,” he said.

“In summary, the general assembly of IPAC, after an exhaustive examination of the INEC timetable and related issues, arrived at a unanimous decision to request for an extension of 37 days to the deadline of the time frame for the conduct of party primaries and resolution of conflicts arising from the primaries. By implication, the IPAC leadership is appealing to the INEC to extend the deadline for the conduct of party primaries and resolution of ensuing conflicts from the present INEC given date of 3rd June, 2022 to 4th August 2022.”

Reacting to the council’s appeal, Mahmood Yakubu, INEC chairman, said the commission will not review the timelines as it would result in complications.

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