By Omeiza Ajayi, Abuja
Ten political parties have formally notified the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC of their plans to conduct their primary election ahead of next year’s Area Council Polls in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
While a few of the parties had initially raised concerns about what they described as the short notice given them by the electoral body in its timetable and schedule of activities, Saturday Vanguard gathered that other parties are still expected to conduct their primary election within the stipulated timeframe.
The ten political parties who have filed notices of their primaries are AA, ADC, APC, APGA, APM, LP, NNPP, NRM, PDP and SDP.
INEC had on March 31 slated the conduct of Area Councils Elections in the Federal Capital Territory FCT for 12th February 2022.
The three-year tenure of the Six Chairmen and 62 Councillors will expire in May 2022 and the territory is the only part of the country where INEC is responsible for the conduct of Local Government elections.
“By virtue of Section 108(1) & (3) and 113(1)(a) &(b) of the Electoral Act 2010(as amended) election into all Area Councils shall be held on the same date and time throughout the Federal Capital Territory. This shall take place not earlier than one hundred and fifty (150) days before and not later than thirty (30) days before the expiration of the term of office of the last holder of that office.
“Furthermore, by section 113 of the Electoral Act, an Area Council shall stand dissolved at the expiration of a three (3) year period, starting from the date the Chairman took the Oath of Office, or when the legislative arm of the Council was inaugurated whichever is earlier.
“The Chairmen and Councillors of the Area Councils were elected on the 9th March 2019 and sworn in on the 19th May 2019 and by paragraph 1© of the Commission’s Guidelines and Regulations ‘where the end of the tenure of FCT Area Council does not coincide with a General election year, the election to the office of the Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Councillors of the Area Councils shall hold on Saturday closest to 100 days to the end of the tenure of the elected officials of the Area Councils.’
“In the exercise of the powers conferred on it by the Constitution, the Electoral Act and all other powers enabling it in that regard, the Commission has fixed 12th February 2022 as the date for the conduct of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Area Councils Election. Consequently, the Commission hereby issues the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the election”, INEC had stated.
By the Timetable and Schedule of Activities, the Commission said it will issue the statutory Notice of Election on 31st March 2021 while the Collection of Forms EC9 (Formerly CF001) and EC9B (Formerly CF002) for the election will take place on 1st April, 2021 and the conduct of party primaries and resolution of disputes arising from the primaries will take place on 1st -24th April 2021.
“The Personal Particulars of the candidates will be published on 5th June 2021 and the parties will commence campaigns on 14th November 2021. The Final List of Nominated Candidates will be published on 11th January, 2022.
“The Commission enjoins all the registered political parties to pay close attention to the timelines and schedule of activities outlined in the Timetable and Schedule of Activities as they are constitutional and statutorily provisions.
“We also enjoin political parties to conduct rancour-free primaries, guarantee level playing field for all aspirants and conduct necessary due diligence on all forms and documents that will be submitted to the Commission. The Commission is concerned about the spate of acrimonious primaries as well as the nomination of unqualified candidates, which results in avoidable litigations, and the nullification of elections by Election Petition Tribunals”, the commission added.