Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has confirmed that 17 out of the 18 registered political parties will be contesting the October 10, 2020 Ondo state governorship election.
Arising from its regular weekly meeting at its national headquarters in Abuja on Thursday, the Commission approved indirect mode of primaries for the All Progressives Congress (APC), the oppositon, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and other political parties.
In a statement signed by the National Commissioner and Chairman,
Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, the Commission equally urged the 14 political parties that nominated candidates for the Edo election to comply with the rules and regulations guiding canvassing for votes.
“A total of 17 of the 18 registered political parties notified the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of their intention to conduct party primaries for the Ondo Governorship election fixed for 10th October 2020. Only the Boot Party did not give any notification of its intention to conduct primaries for the Ondo Governorship election. This is in compliance with section 85 (1) of the Electoral Act, which makes it mandatory for registered political parties to give the Commission at least 21 days’ notice of any Congress or meeting convened for the purpose of nominating candidates for any of the elective offices specified in the Act.
“Details of the political parties and their calendar of Congresses/Primaries (including dates and modes of primaries) have been published on the Commission’s website and social media platforms.
“By Section 87 (2) of the Electoral Act, political parties have the exclusive discretion to determine the procedure for the nomination of candidates which shall be by Direct or Indirect primaries and all the 17 political parties notified the Commission of their intention to conduct Indirect primaries for the nomination of their candidates.
“Political parties are reminded that they are required to submit a comprehensive list of all the delegates eligible to participate in the primaries at least seven days before the scheduled date. The INEC portal for uploading nomination forms will open on July 21 and close on at 6pm on July 28, 2020. We urge political parties not to wait till the last day before submitting the names of their nominated candidates as
“Political parties must observe all the health protocols and guidelines made available to them by the Commission, the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the State Government. They must also enforce the policy of “No Mask, No Voting” in their primaries,” the Commission warned.
On Edo governorship election, the Commission noted: “14 political parties conducted primaries and nominated their candidates for the Edo governorship election holding on Saturday September 19, 2020. Going by the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the election, campaign by political parties in public commenced on June 21, 2020 and ends on September 17, 2010 i.e. 24 hours before polling day as enshrined in Section 99 (1) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as emended).
“Political parties are hereby reminded that in canvassing for votes, they must comply with the Commission’s policy on Conducting Elections in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic as well as the Regulations and Guidelines governing same. They must also comply with the guidelines issued by health authorities.
“At the same time, parties are enjoined to conduct issue-based campaigns in accordance with the Regulations and Guidelines issued by the Commission. They should appeal to their supporters to shun inflammatory rhetoric and disruptive behaviour capable of breaching the peace.
“The election is an opportunity for the people of Edo State to choose among the 14 candidates in the contest. The Commission is concerned that as campaigns begin, campaign councils rather than candidates and party manifestoes are taking centre stage. The election should be a contest of ideas and programmes for the people of Edo to make informed decisions for the development of their State,” It noted.
Giving update on the Nasarawa Central State Constituency bye-election, the Commission revealed that; “Two political parties, the APC and the PDP, have conducted their primaries and nominated candidates using the dedicated portal for the bye-election. The personal particulars, including academic qualifications of the candidates have been pasted in the INEC Nasarawa Local Government Area (LGA) office in Nasarawa State and uploaded on the Commission’s website.”