Ondo Gov’ship Poll: INEC Warns Against Acrimonious, Parallel Primaries

ABUJA – As the nation awaits the forthcoming polls in Ondo state on November 16, 2024, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has warned all political parties against acrimonious and parallel primaries and other infractions for which the electoral umpire is consequentially joined in the court of law.

Handing down this warning on Tuesday in Abuja, at the commission’s 2024 1st quarterly Consultative Meeting with the 19 registered political , INEC Chairman Prof Mahmood Yakubu observed that it would appear no lessons have been learnt in the way and manner that political parties continue to operate despite repeated appeals.

He noted that the commission have had to bear the enormous costs of needless litigations, production of Certified True Copy and other legal costs due to the disruptive activities of the political parties.

He expressed misgivings with the frequent adjustment of date of primary freely chosen by political parties in the concluded Edo Gubernatorial primaries which has thrown up needless operational challenges for the commission, warning that ahead of Ondo, the commission will not allow changes at the convenience of political parties.

Prof Yakubu specifically cautioned the political parties against the granting of waivers to new entrants such that only a thin line separate the political parties.

“For the Ondo State Governorship election, party primaries begin in the next two weeks on 6th April 2024 and ends three weeks later on 27th April 2024. So far, 16 out of 19 political parties have indicated interest in participating in the election. I urge political parties to adhere strictly to your proposed dates and modes of primaries. Frequent changes as we witnessed recently during the Edo primaries are not only disruptive but costly.

“The Commission cannot mobilise, demobilise and remobilise our officials for the monitoring of party primaries at the convenience of political parties. Parties should stick to their proposed dates and modes of primaries for certainty and optimal deployment of resources.

” Similarly, political parties should avoid acrimonious primaries. Increasingly, the conduct of parallel primaries and the emergence of multiple candidates is a frequent occurrence.

“So too is the tendency to grant waivers to candidates who were a few days earlier card-carrying members of other political parties and nominating such persons to the Commission as their candidates for election.

“Some of these infractions lead to unnecessary litigations among party members in which the Commission is always joined as a party. The legal fees and cost of producing Certified True Copies (CTCs) of documents can be used more productively in other electoral activities by both the political parties and the Commission. We must find a solution to this situation”.

He reminded the parties to use the ample time of twenty days allowed them to submit their candidates for the election as there would be no extension of time.

“As you are aware, the two elections are holding later this year. The Edo State Governorship election will be held in the next six months i.e. Saturday 21st September 2024

“By the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the election, political parties have 20 days to upload the list and personal particulars of their candidates to our dedicated portal. We have trained party Liaison Officers and established a Help Desk for political parties.

“The portal opened on 4th March 2024 and will automatically shut down at 6pm on Saturday 24th Match 2024. Two weeks later, only six parties have uploaded their nominations to the portal.

“We urge you to keep to our schedule of activities and avoid last minute rush that may undermine your ability to successfully nominate your candidates. There will be no extension of time beyond the deadline already published in the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the election, to enable us publish the personal particulars of candidates (Form EC9) on 31st March 2024 as required by law”.

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