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Pre-2019 party primaries most acrimonious – INEC chairman

…Says INEC has 396 litigations from primaries, 73 candidates for presidential election
Political parties in the country have been knocked for acrimonious conduct of primary elections to pick candidates for various elective positions ahead of the 2019 general election.

The National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said this on Friday while declaring open a capacity building workshop for INEC Press Corps in Abuja.

Prof. Yakubu berated the political parties for unhealthy handling of their recent primaries exercises which he blamed on lack of or inadequacy of internal democracy.

He disclosed that the Commission has 396 pending cases arising from contentious party primaries, which he said may rise before the 2019 election.

Yakubu said: “Unfortunately, we have witnessed some of the most acrimonious party primaries in our recent history. Internal party democracy is still a source of concern to our Electoral progress.

So far, the Commission has been joined in 396 pending actions in various courts across the country arising from the conduct of party primaries and Nomination of candidates by political parties.

“We have similarly received 302 requests for Certified True Copies of documents, mainly our monitoring reports of party primaries and copies of personal particulars of candidates.

“These requests obviously are a prelude to more Court actions. In addition, we have also received 52 petitions and protests from aggrieved party aspirants.

“The implication of these challenges is that as we are prepared for the general elections, we are also going to grapple with pre-election litigations”.

Knocking the parties further, the INEC chairman said “parties that fail to respect the democratic process in selecting candidates during party primaries lose the moral right to complain about secondary elections”.

Yakubu also disclosed that at the end of the period for the substitution and withdrawal of candidates for the presidential election, a total of 73 political parties filed nomination.

He further disclosed there are 1848 (1615 male and 233 female) candidates for 109 senatorial seats, 4635 (4066 male and 569 female) candidates for 360 Federal Constituencies seats and 1068 (805 male and 263 female) candidates for 29 governorship seats.

The chairman, however, said the Commission is working on list of candidates submitted for review of the 991 State Assembly Constituencies and 68 Area Council chairman and councillors seats for the Federal Capital Territory.

Yakubu said the Commission found it expedient to further build the capacity of journalists covering the activities of the INEC because of the important role the media play in the entire electoral process.

He said the media are specifically saddled with responsibilities such as education of voters on how to exercise their Democratic rights, report on election campaigns and provide a platform for political parties and candidates to communicate their messages to the electorate, among others.

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