Despite the provisions of the 2022 Electoral Act, eighteen registered political parties under the auspices of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) have called for the adjustment of the timetable for the 2023 general elections.
The electoral umpire, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) published the timetable for the 2023 elections shortly after the 2022 Electoral Act was signed into law.
But IPAC said after exhaustive examination of the timetable, it discovered that the schedule of activities were based on certain circumstances and developments that have hampered timely and strict compliance by the political parties to the timetable.
It requested that the deadline for the conduct of party primaries be extended to August 4 as against the June 4 timeline stipulated by the Commission.
IPAC National Chairman, Yabagi Yusuf Sani, who read the position of the position of the parties at the second quarterly meeting with INEC , said: “In making the request for extension in the INEC stipulated timetable and schedule of activities for the 2023 general elections, we in the Inter-Party Advisory Council, are not unmindful of the provisions of the Constitution and the Electoral Act with respect to timelines in the electoral process.
“We are however, of the considered view that our request will not, in any way, tantamount to an infringement or, a breach of any extant laws and provisions. This is because, the alterations that we are demanding, will not affect the statutory dates already fixed for the conduct of the 2023 general elections.
“We are praying for the slight changes in the timetable for the conduct of party primaries in full consciousness of our position as key stakeholders in the nation’s democratic process and who, at the bottom of it all, constitute not only the greatest beneficiaries but, as the platform of all the registered political parties, we are in fact, the fulcrum around which the entire system and processes revolve.
“We should therefore, be seen as a body of responsible and patriotic interest bloc with a very high sense of responsibility and commitment to the success of every crucial stage and aspects in the electoral chain”.
But INEC Chairman Professor Mahmood Yakubu said there would be no review of the timeline for the party primaries.
He reminded the political parties that the period earmarked for the conduct of primaries by political parties commenced on 4th April 2022 and will end on 3rd June 2022.
Yakubu disclosed that all 18 political parties have forwarded the schedules of their primaries to the Commission “and some have commenced the process of choosing their candidates by conducting Ward and Local Government congresses”.
According to him: “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.”
In attendance at the meeting were All Progressives Congress (APC) chairman Senator Abdullahi Adamu; APC National Secretary Senator Iyiola Omisore; PDP National Chairman, Professor Iyorcha Ayu; PDP National Secretary, Senator Samuel Anyanwu; All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) chairman Victor Oye, among other political party leaders.