*Says 14 parties nominated candidates for Edo election
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared that the All Progressives Congress (APC) and 16 other political parties have adopted indirect mode of primary ahead of the Ondo State governorship election.
This has laid to rest controversy surrounding the mode of primary to be adopted by the APC in the election.
National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee in INEC, Festus Okoye disclosed this in a statement on Thursday after the regular weekly meeting of the Commission.
He said out of the 18 parties contesting in the Ondo poll, only the Boot Party did not give any notification of its intention to conduct primaries.
The notification, he said, “is in compliance with section 85 (1) of the Electoral Act, which makes it mandatory for registered political parties to give the Commission at least 21 days’ notice of any Congress or meeting convened for the purpose of nominating candidates for any of the elective offices specified in the Act.
Details of the political parties and their calendar of Congresses/Primaries (including dates and modes of primaries) have been published on the Commission’s website and social media platforms.
He added that “by Section 87 (2) of the Electoral Act, Political Parties have the exclusive discretion to determine the procedure for the nomination of candidates which shall be by Direct or Indirect primaries and all the 17 Political Parties notified the Commission of their intention to conduct Indirect Primaries for the nomination of their candidates.”
The Commission reminded political parties that they are required to submit a comprehensive list of all the delegates eligible to participate in the primaries at least 7 days before the scheduled date.
“The INEC portal for uploading nomination forms will open on 21st July and close on at 6pm on 28th July 2020. We urge Political Parties not to wait till the last day before submitting the names of their nominated candidates as
“Political parties must observe all the health protocols and guidelines made available to them by the Commission, the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the State Government. They must also enforce the policy of “No Mask, No Voting” in their primaries,” he added.
On Edo State, INEC said 14 political parties conducted primaries and nominated their candidates for the Edo Governorship election holding on Saturday 19th September, 2020.
Okoye disclosed that campaign ahead of the Edo poll commenced on 21st June, 2020 and ends on 17th September, 2020 i.e. 24 hours before polling day as enshrined in Section 99 (1) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as emended).
Warning parties on their conduct during campaign, he said “political parties are hereby reminded that in canvassing for votes, they must comply with the Commission’s policy on Conducting Elections in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic as well as the Regulations and Guidelines governing same. They must also comply with the guidelines issued by health authorities.
“At the same time, parties are enjoined to conduct issue-based campaigns in accordance with the Regulations and Guidelines issued by the Commission.
“They should appeal to their supporters to shun inflammatory rhetoric and disruptive behaviour capable of breaching the peace. The election is an opportunity for the people of Edo State to choose among the 14 candidates in the contest.
“The Commission is concerned that as campaigns begin, campaign councils rather than candidates and party manifestoes are taking centre stage. The election should be a contest of ideas and programmes for the people of Edo to make informed decisions for the development of their state,” he said.