The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has implored political parties intending to field candidates for the Edo and Ondo governorship elections scheduled for September 19th and October 10th 2020 respectively to stick to the Timetable and schedule of Activities earlier issued by the Commission. It warned that there would be no extension of time for the exercise.
Chairman of the Commission Professor Mahmood Yakubu, sounded the warning today at the opening of a virtual meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES).
Professor Yakubu explained that arising from experience in managing the nomination of candidates for the last two Governorship elections in Bayelsa and Kogi States, it was important to draw the attention of political parties to the four mandatory requirements for eligibility of candidates for Governorship elections as enshrined in Section 177 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended)
He emphasized that the law provides that, “A candidate nominated by a political party must be a Nigerian citizen by birth; must have attained the age of thirty-five (35) years; must be a member of, and sponsored by, a political party; and must be educated up to at least School Certificate level or equivalent”.
“Adherence to these clear constitutional provisions is compulsory in order to avoid the unnecessary litigations that follow the nomination of candidates, some of which are still pending before the Courts. In fact, one of such cases involving the attempt to substitute an ineligible candidate by one of the political parties was determined only yesterday by the Supreme Court in favour of INEC”, Prof Yakubu said.
The Chairman also stressed that “there will be no extension of time for political parties that fail to submit the names and other details of the candidates that emerge from their primaries using the dedicated portal created by the Commission. For emphasis, the deadline is 6:00pm on Monday 29th June 2020”.
On the Edo governorship election which would be conducted on September 19, 2020 Prof Yakubu reminded all political parties interested in fielding candidates for the election to conclude their primaries for the nomination of on or before Saturday 27th June 2020. “I must stress that the date is firm and fixed. There will be no extension of the deadline”, he added.
Prof Yakubu further emphasized that “while the conduct of primaries and nomination of candidates will be the sole responsibility of political parties, our officials will monitor the primaries as required by law. Already, the Commission has published the date and mode of primaries for each of the fifteen (15) political parties that indicated their intention to participate in the election”..
The virtual ICCES meeting which is the second in less than two weeks, according to the INEC Chairman, “underscores our commitment to the security of the forthcoming Governorship elections in Edo and Ondo States as well as the increasing number of off-cycle elections across the country”.
He explained that the meeting among other things, will consider the draft of a reviewed Code of Conduct for security personnel on election duty based on the report of the Special Committee earlier set up to ensure collaboration and synergy in the deployment of security agencies for elections.
The Co-Chairman of ICCESS and National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd), commended INEC for the setup of the sub-committee to review the existing policy on election security to address challenges posed by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Speaking through his representative, Galadima. S, the NSA expressed confidence that the reviewed policy, when adopted and put into use, would cement collaboration between security agencies and further secure the electoral space for peaceful elections in the country.