Ahead of the October 10 governorship election in Ondo State, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that 17 of the nation’s 18 political parties have disclosed of their intentions to conduct indirect primary election in picking their candidates for the election.
INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee (IVEC), Mr. Festus Okoye, said this on Thursday in Abuja at the end of the weekly regular meeting of the commission.
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This is as he also said that two political parties, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), have conducted their primaries and nominated candidates using the INEC dedicated portal for the Nasarawa Central State Constituency bye-election.
“A total of 17 of the 18 registered political parties notified the commission of their intention to conduct party primaries for the Ondo Governorship election fixed for 10th October 2020.
“Only the Boot Party did not give any notification of its intention to conduct primaries for the Ondo Governorship election.
“This is in compliance with section 85 (1) of the Electoral Act, which makes it mandatory for registered political parties to give the commission at least 21 days’ notice of any congress or meeting convened for the purpose of nominating candidates for any of the elective offices specified in the Act.
“Details of the political parties and their calendar of congresses/primaries (including dates and modes of primaries) have been published on the commission’s website and social media platforms,” Okoye said.
He added that by Section 87 (2) of the Electoral Act, political parties have the exclusive discretion to determine the procedure for the nomination of candidates which shall be by direct or indirect primaries and all the 17 political parties notified the commission of their intention to conduct indirect primaries for the nomination of their candidates.
He reminded parties that they are required to submit a comprehensive list of all the delegates eligible to participate in the primaries at least seven days before the scheduled date.
He said, “The INEC portal for uploading nomination forms will open on 21st July and close at 6pm on 28th July 2020.
“We urge political parties not to wait till the last day before submitting the names of their nominated candidates as political parties must observe all the health protocols and guidelines made available to them by the commission, the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the State Government. They must also enforce the policy of “No Mask, No Voting” in their primaries.”
INEC warns parties on Edo campaigns
On the coming Edo State governorship election, Okoye said 14 political parties conducted primaries and nominated their candidates for the governorship election holding on 19th September 2020.
He said that going by the timetable and schedule of activities for the election, campaign by political parties in public commenced on 21st June 2020 and ends on 17th September 2010, which is 24 hours before polling day as enshrined in Section 99 (1) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as emended).
“Political parties are hereby reminded that in canvassing for votes, they must comply with the commission’s policy on conducting elections in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the regulations and guidelines governing same. They must also comply with the guidelines issued by health authorities.
“Parties are enjoined to conduct issue-based campaigns in accordance with the regulations and guidelines issued by the commission. They should appeal to their supporters to shun inflammatory rhetoric and disruptive behaviour capable of breaching the peace.
“The commission is concerned that as campaigns begin, campaign councils rather than candidates and party manifestos are taking centre stage.
“The election should be a contest of ideas and programmes for the people of Edo to make informed decisions for the development of their state,” Okoye said.