By EMMANUEL OLONIRUHA
ABUJA- The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has warned political parties that its candidate nomination portal for 2023 general elections would automatically shut down at 6 p.m on June 17 for national elections and 6 p.m on July 15 for state elections.
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, gave the warning at the commission’s meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) on Thursday in Abuja.
Yakubu reminded political parties that all party primaries for 2023 end on Thursday (June 9), while nomination of candidates commenced on June 10.
“For the next one week from tomorrow (June 10), all political parties are required to submit their list of candidates for national elections (Presidential/Vice Presidential, Senatorial and House of Representatives) latest by Friday (June 17).
“For State elections (Governorship/Deputy Governorship and State Houses of Assembly), the list of candidates shall be uploaded from July 1 to July 15, as already provided in the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2023 General Election already released by the Commission.
“All political parties are required to upload the details of their candidates for each constituency to the INEC Candidate Nomination Portal (ICNP).”
Yakubu added that to achieve the objective, four officials recommended by each of the 18 political parties were trained on the procedure for uploading the nomination forms to the dedicated web portal.
He said that Confidential Access Codes to the portal had already been given to each political party to facilitate the uploading of its nominations.
“For emphasis, the Commission wishes to remind political parties that only the names of candidates that emerged from democratic primaries as provided by Sec. 84 of the Electoral Act 2022 shall be submitted to the Commission.
“Similarly, the list of all Presidential and Governorship candidates must be accompanied by the names of their running mates (i.e. Vice Presidential and Deputy Governorship candidates) without which the nomination is invalid.
“All nominations must be uploaded to the portal on/or before the deadlines. The portal will automatically shut down at 6 p.m on Friday (June 17) for national elections and 6 p.m on Friday (July 15) for State elections.
“With this innovation, the Commission has eliminated the physical interface between party officials and INEC staff for the purpose of submitting the list of candidates for the 2023 general election,” Yakubu said.
He also disclosed that a Nomination Centre has been set up at the commission’s headquarters to receive and process all nominations by political parties for the 2023 general elections.
He said that the centre include dedicated telephone lines to serve as Help Desk for any party that may need assistance.
Yakubu, who led journalists to the nomination centre located within INEC headquarters, said that INEC expect each political party to nominate about 1,500 candidates for 2023 general elections within the window made available for the exercise.
He clarified that the centre was basically for INEC staff to process the nominations submitted by political parties, and not for the use of political parties as they could upload their nominations from anywhere.
He however advised political parties not to wait till the last day before commencing their uploading of their nominations into the commission’s dedicated portal as deadline remained sacrosanct.
“My advice to political parties is that since they have concluded their primaries they should start uploading from tomorrow, Friday, June 10.
“Let them not wait until the last day, which is June 17, because if there are difficulties on the last day, they will not be able to upload after 6 p.m.
“So, let them start uploading earlier so that when there are issues they can be attended to before 6 p.m, but this centre is essentially for the commission. No more human interface.”
He said that the portal would record the exact time and other details a political party logged into the portal to take care of situation where political party rush into INEC office on the last minutes, rushing to beat deadline. (NAN)