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INEC declines parties’ request for extension of primaries deadline



 INEC declines parties request for extension of primaries deadline

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has turned down the appeal for an extension of the deadline for the conduct of primaries by political parties.


The country’s 18 registered political parties, through the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), on Tuesday, asked the commission to review its timetable and schedule of activities to afford member parties enough time to put their houses in order.


The body’s appeal made at a quarterly meeting with the INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, came days after PREMIUM TIMES reported the moves by political parties to extend the dates by another 37 days.


Mr Yakubu, on two different occasions last week, reiterated the commission’s stance of not changing its June 3 deadline for the primaries of the 18 political parties.


INEC had reviewed its schedules for the 2023 general elections in Nigeria in February after President Muhammadu Buhari assented to the 2022 Electoral Act.

READ ALSO: JUST IN: Parties urge INEC to alter 2023 election timetable

In compliance with the new Electoral Acts, the commission fixed April 4 to June 3 for the election of flag bearers of all political parties for the 2023 elections.


Against the INEC schedules, IPAC chairman, Yabagi Sani, on Tuesday, before leaders of other parties, noted the celebrations of Easter and Eid El Fitr (Sallah) holiday among their reasons for seeking a deadline extension.


“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 thirty-seven (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 July 2022,” the IPAC chairman said at the meeting.


ALSO READ: APC Primaries: My chances incredibly high – Tinubu

He further argued that the holidays, in a way, had “disrupted planned activities and programmes of the political parties, leading to the loss of about two weeks out of the allotted time of the timetable.”


No going back on deadline – INEC insists

The INEC chairman, Mr Yakubu, in reaction to the body’s appeal, told political parties leaders in attendance not to expect any extension from the commission.

He said any attempt to review the timeline as requested by IPAC will alter the rest of the INEC schedule of activities ahead of the 2023 polls.


“I hereby reiterate the position of the Commission that there will be no review of the timelines. There are so many inter-related activities that are associated with the timelines which must be carried out.


“Any review to extend the timeline for one activity will 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,” Mr Yakubu told leaders of the political parties in attendance.


On the June 18 governorship election in Ekiti State, the commission invited parties to inspect samples of materials for the election not later than 20 days before the election date.

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