By Omeiza Ajayi, ABUJA
The Independent National Electoral Commission INEC has disclosed that 14 political parties and 472 candidates will be participating on February 12, 2022, in Area Council elections in the Federal Capital Territory FCT, Abuja.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu announced this on Thursday in Abuja at the second quarterly meeting with political parties.
“In the case of the FCT Area Council elections, political parties have concluded their primaries for the 68 constituencies made up of 6 Area Council Chairmen and 62 Councillors. A total of 14 out of 18 political parties have nominated 110 candidates for Chairmanship/Deputy Chairmanship positions and 362 candidates for Councillorships.
“Altogether, 14 political parties have nominated 472 candidates to vie for 68 elective positions in the FCT. An infographic distribution of the nominations by Area Councils is included in your folders for this meeting”, he stated.
Yakubu noted that in respect of the Anambra State Governorship election, all the 18 political parties have expressed interest to participate and have scheduled their primaries for the election in line with the dates provided for in the Timetable released by the Commission.
The INEC Chairman however frowned at the recurrent judicial incursion into political party affairs especially with respect to the nomination of candidates, saying political parties must hold themselves to the same high standards that they expect of INEC during elections.
He said; “I would like to remind political parties about the recent letters written to you by the Commission on the imperative of complying with the provisions of the law as well as our regulations governing the conduct of party primaries and nomination of candidates.
“The Commission is not happy that candidates for elections are now being determined through litigations long after elections have been concluded and winners declared by INEC.
“The problem lies squarely with the conduct of party primaries and nomination of candidates by some political parties.
“We urge you to hold yourselves to the same high standard of free, fair, and credible elections that you hold INEC in all elections. You must ensure strict compliance with your party Constitutions, the law and the Commission’s regulations and guidelines on party primaries in particular and the management of party affairs in general. After all, Nigerians only exercise their democratic right to elect leaders from the candidates presented by political parties. Electing good leaders begins with the quality of primaries conducted by political parties. We will do our part to ensure that our elections continue to improve”.
On election expenses, Yakubu regretted that only a few political parties who participated in the Governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states have complied with extant laws.
“May I also draw your attention to your obligation under Sections 92 (3) and 93(4) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) which require political parties to submit to the Commission their election expenses reports within six months and election contribution report within three months after the declarations of the result of an election. We have reminded political parties of these obligations in respect of the Edo and Ondo governorship elections held last year.
“However, only seven out of 14 political parties have responded in the case of Edo State and eight out of 17 for Ondo State. We wish to remind political parties of the consequences of the failure to do so as enshrined in the Electoral Act. We, therefore, expect all defaulting parties to comply in earnest as you prepare for forthcoming elections”, he stated.