…We won’t grant your request, says INEC Chairman

By Omeiza Ajayi, Abuja

Nigeria’s 18 registered political parties under the aegis of Inter-Party Advisory Council IPAC have appealed to the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC to tinker with its electoral timelines and shift the June 3 deadline for the conduct of primary elections by the parties.

IPAC National Chairman, Engr. Yabagi Sani made the appeal on Tuesday in Abuja at the INEC’s interactive session with political parties.

He said all the nation’s registered political parties including the ruling All Progressives Congress APC and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party PDP were unanimous in making the demand.

He said IPAC had all along, chosen to remain a reliable partner and a formidable pillar by being consistent in its support and defence of INEC on the series of administrative reforms and introduction of technology to the electoral system.

“It is within the framework of the enduring bond between the INEC and IPAC in service to the country, that all the 18 registered political parties on the platform of IPAC are jointly, without exception, requesting the INEC to consider a slight adjustment to the recently announced timetable and schedule of activities for the 2023 general elections.

“In summary, the General Assembly of IPAC, after an exhaustive examination of the INEC timetable and related issues, arrived at a unanimous decision to request for an extension of 37 days to the deadline of the time frame for the conduct of party primaries and resolution of conflicts arising from the primaries.

“By implication, the IPAC leadership is appealing to the INEC to extend the deadline for the conduct of party primaries and resolution of ensuing conflicts from the present INEC given date of 3rd June, 2022 to 4th August 2022”, he added.

According to him, some of the issues considered by the IPAC General Assembly which necessitated the call for extension in the timeframe of the present INEC timetable and schedule of activities are based on certain circumstances and developments that have hampered timely and strict compliance by the political parties to the timetable.

“Some of the constraining developments which, we believe were not considered and therefore, not factored by the INEC while drawing up its schedule of activities includes the following:
The Christian Lenten season and the Muslim fasting in the month of Ramadan respectively followed by the celebrations of Easter and Eid El Fitr, (Sallah), in which the vast majority of party members were involved.

“The developments inevitably, therefore, greatly disrupted planned activities and programmes of the political parties, leading to the loss of about two weeks out of the allotted time of the timetable. It is also, noteworthy that, the scenario was the first time that the two major events in the Christian and Muslim calendars would be occurring around the period of general elections

“The forthcoming gubernatorial elections in Ekiti and Osun states within the timeline of the INEC for the conduct of party primaries were additional remarkable distractions and constraints that obviously affected the political parties because, most of them are, understandably, preoccupied with preparations for the conduct of the elections.

“Very pertinently, the IPAC General Assembly regards the time allotted by INEC for the conduct of party primaries as too short in view of the efforts required by the political parties for effective and scrupulous screening and selection of qualified and quality flag bearers. The significance of a tidy selection of party candidates in the elections in the country and the unprecedented large number of aspirants jostling to emerge as candidates of their various political parties in the coming general elections, have made the task of screening very cumbersome and demanding. The political parties have also had to be cautious and painstaking in the screening and selection procedures as a safeguard against creating rooms for disruptive incidents of litigations by aggrieved aspirants”, Sani stated

He said in making the request for extension in the INEC stipulated timetable and schedule of activities for the 2023 general elections, IPAC is not unmindful of the provisions of the Constitution and the Electoral Act with respect to timelines in the electoral process.

“We are, however, of the considered view that our request will not, in any way, tantamount to an infringement or, a breach of any extant laws and provisions. This is because, the alterations that we are demanding, will not affect the statutory dates already fixed for the conduct of the 2023 general elections”, he declared.

Earlier, INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu disclosed that all 18 political parties have forwarded the schedules of their primaries to the Commission and that some have commenced the process of choosing their candidates by conducting Ward and Local Government congresses.

“The period earmarked for the conduct of primaries by political parties commenced on 4th April 2022 and will end 24 days from today i.e. 3rd June 2022.

“Twice in the last two weeks, the Commission had cause to remind political parties of the necessity for strict compliance with the timelines for party primaries. I hereby reiterate the position of the Commission that there will be no review of the timelines. There are so many inter-related activities that are associated with the timelines which must be carried out. Any review to extend the timeline for one activity will affect other activities and put unnecessary pressure on political parties and the Commission. This will ultimately result in more complications than what the extension seeks to achieve.

“Therefore, the Commission will not review the timelines. Working together, we should ensure fidelity to the timelines in conducting transparent and Democratic primaries for the purpose of electing candidates for the 1,491 constituencies for which elections will be held on 25th February and 11th March 2023.

“In the spirit of working together to comply with the requirements of law, the Commission has prepared a document to guide political parties in the conduct of primaries and nomination of candidates for election, including a checklist of the documentation required for a successful nomination. The guide is among the documents contained in your folders for this meeting. Similarly, the Commission has prepared a calendar of party primaries for presidential, governorship, national, and state assembly seats based on the proposals submitted by political parties as at Friday 6th May 2022”, he declared.

Taraba Group petitions APC, INEC

Meanwhile, the Taraba Patriotic Front, a civil society group advocating for good governance and transparency in Taraba State has called on the national leadership of the APC and INEC Chairman to properly scrutinize, documents being submitted by the former Deputy Governor of the state, Abubakar Sani Danladi to contest for Taraba North Senatorial District in the 2023 elections.

In a statement made available to journalists in Abuja on Tuesday, Coordinator of the Taraba Patriotic Front, Wayas Benjamin said the former deputy governor should be disqualified from running if the ruling party must record success in the general elections.

“I strongly believe that disqualifying Abubakar Sani Danladi from contesting the election is in the best interest of not only the APC, but Taraba State, because he has been in and out of court several times in relation to the information contained in the affidavit supporting his personal particulars submitted to INEC,” Benjamin said.

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According to him, Danladi was petitioned in court in 2007 and 2018 when he contested as deputy governor to late Danbaba Suntai and when he was presented by the APC governorship candidate over issues bordering on his educational qualification.

He also cited how the APC lost out in presenting a governorship candidate in March 2019 because of a Supreme Court verdict which barred Danladi from running for the post based on inappropriate information provided to INEC.

In the petition to the APC Chairman which was copied INEC, Benjamin recalled that; “The suit bordered on dishonesty, false declaration and lying on oath as relates to the information contained in the affidavit supporting the personal particulars submitted to INEC by Abubakar Sani Danladi,” he said.

“Chairman may wish to note that Abubakar Sani Danladi submitted an Affidavit of change of name, which he purportedly deposed to sometime in December 1991. The Affidavit states that Sani Babu changed his name to Abubakar Sani Danladi.

“It is instructive to note that the APC Guidelines for Nomination clearly requires that when a candidate submits an Affidavit for change of name, the Affidavit must be accompanied with a Newspaper Publication of the change of name and a Deed Poll, neither of which Abubakar Sani Danladi submitted in support of his Affidavit of change of name.

“Records of Proceedings from the Court of Appeal where all the above allegations against Abubakar Sani Danladi were made contains all the evidence of the documents tendered in support of the allegations. The Records are in 2 volumes compiled by the Registry of the Court of Appeal. Copies of the CTC of the 2 volumes are submitted to the National Legal Adviser of the APC and marked EX. 1, for ease of reference.”

Vanguard News Nigeria

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