INEC rejects parties’ request to extend deadline for primaries by 2 months


By Yomi Kareem

Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has insisted it will not review the 2023 election timetable and schedule of activities, as doing so will affect other activities in the electoral timetable, even as political parties are calling for the extension of the timelines.

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, made the assertion yesterday, during the second quarterly Consultative meeting with political parties at the Commission’s headquarters Abuja. Saying twice in the last two weeks, the Commission has had cause to remind political parties of the necessity for strict compliance with the timelines for party primaries.

In his words, Yakubu said; “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. 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 25th February and 11th March 2023.”

The INEC boss urged the political parties to conduct their primaries and nominate candidates for elections in a rancour free manner and reminded them of their commitment to promoting inclusivity in the electoral process.

Meanwhile, the Inter Party Advisory Council, IPAC, is insisting the electoral umpire should consider extending the electoral timetable and schedule of activities, as the Christian length and the Ramadan period combined with the two festive periods, amongst other challenges have affected the timeframe.

IPAC Chairman, Engr. Yabagi Yusuf Sani, made the appeal while delivering his speech during the opening ceremony of the meeting, saying the huge number of aspirants jostling to become candidates of their various political parties and the cumbersome screening of aspirants to avoid unnecessary litigations, amongst other challenges, are some of the reasons it is imperative for INEC to extend the electoral timeframe.