14 Parties opt for Indirect Primaries as APC sticks to Direct option
By Omeiza Ajayi
ABUJA: Ahead of political party governorship primary elections slated for between June 2 and 27 in Edo state, the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC has warned parties against exposing electoral officials and other stakeholders to harm, urging them to shun acts to the contrary.
The electoral umpire in a statement by a National Commissioner and Chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye on Tuesday in Abuja added that 14 out of the 15 political parties that would be conducting primary elections in the state have informed it of their preferences for the indirect method. The ruling All Progressives Congress APC is the only party that has opted for direct primary.
According to Okoye, the Commission met virtually on Tuesday and considered several issues including the conduct of political party primaries for the Edo State Governorship election scheduled for 19 September 2020.
He said in accordance with Sections 85 and 87 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), “15 out of the 18 registered Political Parties have notified the Commission of their intention to conduct primaries for the purpose of nominating candidates for the Edo State Governorship election slated for 19 September 2020.
“By the Timetable and Schedule of Activities issued by the Commission on 6 February 2020, party primaries for the Edo Governorship election will take place between 2 and 27 June 2020”.
Apart from the APC which has opted for the direct method, the other parties which opted for indirect are AA, AAC, ADC, ADP and APGA. Others are APM, APP, LP, NNPP, NRM, PDP, SDP, YPP and ZLP.
Warns against harm
“The Commission appeals to the various Political Parties to conduct their primaries in full compliance with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution and Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Political Party Primaries (2018) and the INEC Policy on Conducting Elections in the context of COVID-19 Pandemic.
“Political Parties must shun all acts capable of breaching the peace and unsettling the peace and order of the State and jeopardizing the health and safety of party members, election officials and observers.
“In addition to the concerns about the health of stakeholders is the related concern about the security of lives against physical harm to persons as well as private and public property. In the understanding that impunity encourages perpetrators of election offences, the Commission is vigorously prosecuting offenders. So far, 16 case files arising out of the 2019 General Elections have been provided by the Police (the lead agency for electoral security) on conclusion of investigation. The cases are in Abia, Anambra, Bayelsa, Gombe, Kogi, Lagos and Niger States, ranging from snatching and destruction of election materials, disorderly conduct, unlawful possession of ballot papers and Permanent Voters’ Cards to canvassing for votes at polling units on election day.
Besides, two cases emanating from the Bayelsa Governorship election and relating to snatching and destruction of electoral materials are also being prosecuted.
As we prepare for the Edo and Ondo Governorship elections, we appeal to Political Parties sponsoring candidates and participating in the Edo and Ondo Governorship elections to eschew violence and conduct their activities in the best traditions of electoral democracy.
“The Commission will not condone acts of electoral impunity during these end of tenure Governorship elections and the forthcoming bye-elections. The Commission will work collaboratively with all the security agencies to ensure a good electoral environment for the conduct of elections”, INEC stated.