INEC: 13 Political Parties to Participate in Oct 31 By-elections

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Chuks Okocha in Abuja

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday stated that only 13 out of the 18 registered political parties have notified it of their intentions to participate and conduct primary elections.

INEC further said all the 13 political parties that notified it added that they would be choosing their candidates through indirect primary elections.

In a statement issued by the National Commissioner in Charge of Publicity and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, he said: “Out of the 18 registered political parties in Nigeria, 13 have notified the commission of their intention to conduct primaries towards participating in the outstanding by-elections.

“All the 13 political parties opted for indirect primaries.”

According to Okoye, INEC said it has observed from the notices to the commission that some of the political parties did not specify the venues within the respective constituencies for the conduct of their primaries.

He said the attention of the political parties is hereby drawn to the provisions of Section 87(4)(c) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) which makes it mandatory for any party that intends to nominate a candidate to the Senate, House of Representatives and state House of Assembly to hold its congresses in the respective senatorial district, federal constituency and the state assembly constituency.

It will be recalled that on August 11, 2020, INEC released the harmonised timetable and schedule of activities affecting 12 outstanding bye-elections in eight states of the federation scheduled for October 31, 2020.

The commission announced that it has received notifications of more vacant seats in some state Houses of Assembly.

The INEC national commissioner said: “The Speakers of Enugu and Katsina State Houses of Assembly have notified the commission of the deaths of the members representing Isi-Uzo state constituency of Enugu State and Bakori state constituency of Katsina State, and have declared vacancies for the said constituencies, bringing the total number of vacancies and bye-elections to be conducted to 14.”

Accordingly, he said the commission has released a harmonised timetable and schedule of activities for two constituencies.

He said: “The Notice of Election shall be published on August 26, 2020, and political parties shall conduct their party primaries between August 27 and September 8, 2020. The harmonised timetable and schedule of activities have been uploaded on the commission’s website and social media platforms.”

INEC also urged political parties to strictly comply with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) and the commission’s regulations and guidelines in the conduct of primaries and nomination of candidates.

Okoye also said the commission reviewed preparations for the Edo and Ondo States governorship elections as well as all outstanding bye-elections.