By Emmanuel Oloniruha
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that it is too late to tinker with the schedule of activities for the 2023 general elections.
Mr Festus Okoye, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, stated this while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja.
NAN reports that Okoye spoke against the backdrop of the two months extension of deadline for the conduct of parties’ primary recently sought by Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC).
According to him, any change in the June 3 deadline will affect other activities for elections.
“The timetable and schedule of activities released by the commission are derived from the constitution, the Electoral Act and the Regulations and Guidelines of the commission.
“The chairman of the commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, made it clear that our timetable and schedule of activities and the terminal date for the conduct of party primaries are firm and fixed.
“The political parties are proceeding with their congresses and primaries. The commission will not tamper with its fixtures, as doing so will affect other activities and constitutionally-circumscribed timelines.
“Certainty is key to planning, and the commission is committed to its timelines. Political parties must brace up to the challenges posed by the Electoral Act 2022,” he said.
Okoye, who said that the commission was already engaged with lots of activities, said it would amount to arbitrariness to adjust the election timetable.
“INEC is preparing for Ekiti and Osun governorship elections as well as 18 by-elections, while party primaries is a small subset of work of the commission.
“The commission is engaged in procurement of sensitive and non-sensitive materials, and we will assess and renovate our state and local government offices.
“INEC will also receive, print and display thousands of nomination forms. Moreover, we have trained and deployed hundreds monitors for the congresses and primaries,’’ he said.
Okoye, therefore, stated that it was too late to interfere with the timelines, stressing that the commission had released the timetable and schedule on Feb. 26.