Anambra, FCT Elections: INEC harps on conduct of valid party primaries

By Chimezie Godfrey

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has urged political parties to avoid the conduct of acrimonious and skewed primary elections in the forthcoming Anambra Guber and FCT Area Council elections.

The National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, made this known in a statement on Friday.

He said the Commission met on Friday and resolved to encourage all political parties to play by the rules in the forthcoming elections.

Okoye said based on the timetable and schedule of activities released by the Commission, the Anambra State Governorship election will take place on 6th November 2021.

“To this end, Political Parties that have indicated interest in nominating candidates for the election shall conduct their primaries for the nomination of candidates between 10th June and 1st July 2021.

“The Commission, as part of its statutory oversight responsibilities, has written to all the political parties that indicated interest in conducting party primaries and sponsoring candidates for the election on their responsibilities and obligations.

“Political parties seeking to nominate candidates must hold direct or indirect primaries and the aspirant with the highest number of votes at the end of voting shall be declared the winner of the primaries and the aspirant’s name forwarded to the Commission as the candidate of the Party.

“For the avoidance of doubt, Sec. 4.5(1) and (2) of the INEC Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Political Party primaries requires political parties holding direct primaries to make the list of their members available for inspection by monitors from the Commission as well as their aspirants and party members.

“For parties that opt for indirect primaries, the list of delegates must be made available to the Commission as well as aspirants at least 7 days before the conduct of primaries. Similarly, Sec. 9(1) and (2) of the same Regulations and Guidelines require political parties to make available to the Commission the list of aspirants seeking nomination to contest for elective offices as well as the list of members of the election committee of the party conducting the primaries.

“Political parties are enjoined to conduct valid primaries and avoid acrimonious, opaque and skewed primaries leading to avoidable litigation.

“To this end, parties must screen their candidates. A political party that submits to the Commission the name of a candidate who does not meet the qualification as stipulated in the law shall be guilty of an offence and may be proceeded against by the Commission,” he stated.

Okoye disclosed that in accordance with the timetable and schedule of activities for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Area Council election, the Commission will publish the list and particulars of nominated candidates in their various Constituencies on 5th June 2021.

He encouraged members of the public to check the published list on the notice board at any INEC office in the Constituency/Area Council where the candidate intends to contest.

“Any person who has reasonable ground to believe that any information given in the affidavit or any document submitted by a candidate is false may file a suit in Court against such person seeking a declaration that the information contained in the affidavit is false.

“If the Court determines that any of the information contained in the affidavit or any document submitted by that candidate is false, the Court shall issue an order disqualifying the candidate from contesting the election,” Okoye stated.