The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Wednesday insisted that any primary election conducted after June 3, 2023 remained null and void.
The commission said it will not accept the outcome of such primaries, noting that provisions of the 2022 Electoral Act would be observed to the letter in the prosecution of the 2023 general elections.
Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of INEC in Delta State, Monday Udoh-Tom, reiterated this unwaivering stand in Asaba at a one-day Media/Civil Societies Organisation (CSOs) round table on the 2022 Electoral Act organised by the Commission in collaboration with Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) and Delta State Civil Society Forum (DENGOF).
Udoh-Tom said the resolve to stick with the provisions of the Electoral Act was an evidence of the commitment to bring sanity into the nation’s electoral system.
He explained that the Electoral Act was not only intended to offer legal cover for the series of commission’s past and present innovations, which over the years, often suffered technical defeats in the courts, but also to further deepen transparency and reduce ambiguity and the use of discretion by both INEC and stakeholders in the electoral process.
According to him, operationalization of the Act began with the “publication of Notice of Election, by the Commission on February 28, 2022, in line with section 28(1) , which inter-alia provides that, ‘the commission shall, not later than 360 days before the day appointed for holding of an election under this Act, publish a notice in each state of the Federation and the Capital Territory – (a) Stating the date of the election; and (b) Appointing the place at which nomination papers are to be delivered.
“Consequently, other timeline activities have since followed, including on-going party congresses and primaries, for the nomination of candidates, in which Section 29(1-8) provides for the list of candidates to be submitted to the commission by political parties, 180 days before the 2023 General Election, and in this instance, before the Presidential and National Assembly elections, fixed for February 25, 2023.”
He stressed that the Electoral Act as signed into law on February 25, 2022; the constitution of Nigeria; and INEC guidelines would provide framework for the conduct of the 2023 elections.
“This round table in my understanding is to bring all key players in the electoral process to the table, to take a slice of the Act, examine its ramifications for each player in their corner, with the overall goal of informed and enlightened value added political discuss, activism and reportage, which of course will ultimately benefit the out come of the 2023 general election.
“It is important for all participants to agree from the onset of this meeting, the necessity of detailed understanding of what the Act says, in every sphere of activity of the electoral process, so as to arrive at a pre-determined end of knowledge driven out come, with the consequence of less acrimony, fake news and litigation at the end of the 2023 general election,” he added.