INEC  Moves To Sanction Political Parties Over Unqualified Candidates

INEC  Moves To Sanction Political Parties Over Unqualified Candidates

The Independent National Electoral Commission,  INEC, has warned political parties to be mindful of who they present to the Commission as candidates saying that political parties that present the name of a candidate who does not meet the qualifications stipulated in the Constitution and the Electoral Act shall be guilty of an offence and on conviction, liable to a maximum fine of five hundred thousand naira. 

INEC, which declared its preparedness for the Area Council elections in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, holding on Saturday twelfth February 2022 as well as other outstanding elections for the year 2022 after its review meeting, said the Commission is finalizing all arrangements for the election adding that Permanent Voters Cards, PVCs, for all new registrants as well as requests for transfers and replacement of damaged cards have been printed and are available in all the six Area Councils for collection. 

The Commission appealed to citizens who applied for fresh registration as well as transfers and replacement of the PVCs to do so immediately and avoid last minute rush for the cards like in the past.

According to a statement signed by the National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Barrister Festus Okoye, FCT is the only part of Nigeria where INEC conducts Local Government elections and a total of four hundred and seventy five candidates sponsored by all the eighteen political parties are vying for the sixty eight constituencies involving six Area Council Chairmen and sixty two Councillors. 

The statement further stated that in keeping with its tradition of engaging with stakeholders, the Commission has scheduled to meet with Political Parties on Tuesday eighteenth January, Civil Society Organisations on Wednesday 19th January, Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) on Thursday 20th January and Media Organisations on Friday twenty first January 2022

The statement also noted that all pending Bye-Elections, for six constituencies in four states will hold on Saturday twenty sixth February 2022 immediately after the FCT Area Council elections to enable the Commission focus on the Ekiti and Osun Governorship elections and ongoing preparations for the 2023 General Election.

The Commission however, decided to combine the Ekiti East 1 State Constituency election with the Governorship election in Ekiti, on eighteenth June, 2022 saying that it is consulting with security agencies and critical stakeholders relating to the vacancy in Shinkafi State Constituency of Zamfara State while the Speaker of the Kaduna State House of Assembly is yet to declare vacancy in relation to Giwa State Constituency of Kaduna State. 

It cautioned political parties fielding candidates for the bye-elections to comply with the activities and timelines set out in the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the conduct of the bye-election and conduct transparent and valid direct or indirect primaries in accordance with the dictates of sections eighty five and eighty seven of the Electoral Act 2010  as amended.

According to the statement, Political Parties are to conduct their primaries including resolution of disputes arising from the primaries between twenty sixth January and fifth February 2022 while the last day for submission of list of nominated candidates is  6pm on the ninth of February which must be done through the Commission’s online nomination portal.

It however reminded political parties that the aspirant with the highest number of votes at the end of voting shall be declared the winner of the primary of the party and the aspirant’s name shall be forwarded to the Commission as the candidate of the party.

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