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18 political parties seek extension of deadline for primaries, INEC rejects plea, insists on June 3

[FILES] INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu

The 18 registered political parties, under the aegis of Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), have appealed to Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to extend deadline for conduct of primary elections.

But INEC insisted that the June 3 target for parties to conduct primaries and pick candidates for the 2023 elections stands.

IPAC National Chairman, Yabagi Sani, who made the appeal in Abuja, yesterday, during an interactive session between political parties and INEC, urged the commission to shift the deadline by 37 days.

Stating reasons, Sani said the Sallah holiday, forthcoming Ekiti and Osun States governorship elections and screening of an unprecedented large number of aspirants were issues that could hamper timely and strict compliance with the timetable.

He maintained that the time allotted by INEC for the conduct of primaries was too short, in view of efforts required by political parties for scrupulous screening and selection of quality flag bearers.

Noting that request for slight modifications in INEC’s schedule of activities is not without precedence, Sani said some of the constraining developments were not considered and factored by INEC while it drew its schedule of activities.

Earlier, INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, reminded political parties of the necessity for strict compliance with timelines for party primaries.

According to him, there are many inter-related activities that are associated with the timelines, which must be carried out.

He added that any extension would affect other activities and put unnecessary pressure on political parties and the commission.

“This will ultimately result in more complications than what the extension seeks to achieve. Therefore, the commission will not review the timelines. Working together, we should ensure fidelity to the timelines in conducting transparent and democratic primaries for the purpose of electing candidates for the 1,491 constituencies for which elections will be held on February 25 and March 11, 2023.”

He urged parties to promote inclusivity in the electoral process by encouraging greater involvement of all under-represented segments of the society as candidates for elections.


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