The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has advised Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) to stay neutral while supervising political parties’ primaries to nominate their respective candidates for the 2023 general election.
He made the statement at the Commission’s Second Regular Quarterly Consultative Meeting with the RECs, which took place on Friday at the Commission’s Headquarters in Abuja.
“As you all know, the Commission announced the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2023 General Election a day after the Electoral Act 2022 was passed into law,” Prof. Yakubu stated.
The conduct of party primaries by political parties is the next activity on the Timetable.
“The Commission has received notices and schedules of primaries from 14 parties thus far. The Commission will oversee the primaries in the constituencies where the parties want to field candidates, as required by law.
“This suggests that the exercise will be heavily involving the State offices.” I implore you to carry out our monitoring responsibilities with complete impartiality. There are consequences for breaking the law, and you should be aware of them and inform our staff.”
Prof. Yakubu took advantage of the opportunity to remind Political Parties of their need to keep a membership register and share it with the Commission at least 30 days before the election.
Let me also take this occasion to remind political parties that under Section 77 of the Electoral Act 2022, each party must keep a membership register in both hard and soft copies and make it available to the Commission 30 days before the date set for primaries, congresses, and conventions.
“To yet, just one political party has agreed to comply. It is a legal duty, and all parties must adhere to it. It’s the equivalent of going to an election without a voter registration list.
“Without genuine voter registration, there can be no credible primary or general election,” he stated.
Prof. Yakubu also advised the RECs to familiarize themselves with the new Electoral Act 2022, which will govern the conduct of the general election in 2023.
“We can only anchor a credible election on the law,” he concluded. The electoral legal framework for elections is comprised of the Electoral Act, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), and our Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections. We must familiarize ourselves with the legal context as election managers.”