By Chibuike Nwabuko
Abuja (Sundiata Post) – The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has warned political parties to strictly adhere to the Commission’s timelines for all activities, including the conduct of primaries and nomination of candidates.
The Chairman of INEC, Prof Mahmood Yakubu who gave the warning at a meeting of the inter-agency consultative committee on election security (ICCES) to review security arrangements for the area Council election in the FCT held on Tuesday, stressed that these timelines are firm and fixed and as such, no deviation or violation will be allowed.
Sundiata Post recalls that the warning was against the backdrop that the Boot Party (BP) did not hold its primary election at any venue known to, and monitored by, the Commission.
Consequently, the commission there said it does not expect the party to nominate a candidate for the Ekiti State Governorship election.
Prof Mahmood address reads in full:
The NSA and Co-Chair of ICCES
Heads of various security organisations
Other members of ICCES
Senior Officials of the Commission
Members of the INEC Press Corps
Ladies and Gentlemen
1. I welcome you all to our second meeting in the last two weeks. You may recall that at our last meeting held on 20th January 2022, we resolved to invite the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) and the Commissioner of Police for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to brief us on the security situation and state of readiness for the Area Council election. As you are aware, the election is holding on Saturday 12th February 2022 which is just 11 days away.
2. For our part, the Commission has also been evaluating the risk to the election using the Election Violence Mitigation and Advocacy Tool (EVMAT). The aim is to identify early warning signals that could assist the security agencies and other stakeholders in devising and deploying appropriate mitigation strategies. Among other areas of concern, the Commission focused on threats specific to geographical locations, proliferation of small arms and light weapons, the issue of hard drugs, presence of insurgents and armed groups, intra and inter-party conflicts, and incidents of hate speech. The hard copy of the summary of the threats and frequency of incidents is included in your folders for this meeting.
3. In the next few days, the Commission will intensify its engagement with stakeholders, particularly with party leaders and candidates, traditional and religious leaders, transport providers, civil society organisations and the media. We will work with all stakeholders to ensure that the forthcoming election is peaceful and our processes credible. That is why this meeting is crucial. Securing the environment is the foundation for a peaceful, well-organised and credible election. This was clearly demonstrated in the peaceful conduct of the recent Anambra State Governorship election. Let us make the FCT Area Council election another shining example of a peaceful election.
4. In addition to the FCT Area Council election, the Commission is also preparing for six bye-elections on 26th February 2022, followed by the Ekiti and Osun Governorship elections on 18th June and 16th July 2022 respectively. In the case of the Ekiti State Governorship election, the period earmarked in the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for party primaries ended three days ago on 29th January 2022. All 18 political parties served notices for their party primaries to elect their candidates for the election and invited the Commission to monitor them. One party adopted the direct method for electing its candidate while 16 parties opted for the indirect method. However, from our field report, the Boot Party (BP) did not hold its primary election at any venue known to, and monitored by, the Commission. Consequently, we do not expect the party to nominate a candidate for the Ekiti State Governorship election. On this note, let me once again warn political parties to strictly adhere to the Commission’s timelines for all activities, including the conduct of primaries and nomination of candidates. These timelines are firm and fixed. No deviation or violation will be allowed.
5. Once again, you are welcome to this meeting. I thank you and God bless.