By Emmanuel Oloniruha
Abuja, Aug. 25, 2020 The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Tuesday said 13 out of the 18 registered political parties had notified it of their intention to conduct primaries in the 12 outstanding bye-elections scheduled for Oct. 31.
The commission disclosed this in a statement signed by Mr Festus Okoye, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, after the commission’s meeting held in Abuja
Okoye, who noted that all the 13 political parties opted for indirect primaries, said that some of the parties did not specify where they intended to conduct their primaries.
He recalled that on Aug. 11, the commission released the harmonised timetable and schedule of activities concerning 12 outstanding bye-elections in eight states scheduled for Oct. 31.
Okoye said: “Out of the 18 registered political parties in Nigeria, 13 have notified the commission of their intention to conduct primaries towards participating in the outstanding bye-elections.
” All the 13 political parties opted for indirect primaries.
“However, it is observed from the notices to the commission that some of the political parties did not specify the venues within the respective constituencies for the conduct of their primaries.
“The attention of political parties is hereby drawn to the provisions of Section 87(4)(c) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended).
“The section makes it mandatory for any party that intends to nominate a candidate to the Senate, House of Representatives and State House of Assembly to hold its congresses in the respective senatorial district, federal constituency and the state assembly constituency.”
Okoye also disclosed that the Speakers of Enugu and Katsina State Houses of Assembly had notified the commission of the deaths of the members representing Isi-Uzo State Constituency of Enugu State and Bakori State Constituency of Katsina State.
He added that they had also declared vacancies for the said constituencies.
This, according to Okoye, had brought the total number of vacancies and bye-elections to be conducted to 14.
“Accordingly, the commission has released a harmonised timetable and schedule of activities for two constituencies.
“The Notice of Election shall be published on Aug. 26 and political parties shall conduct their party primaries between Aug. 27 and Sept. 8.
He said that the harmonised timetable and schedule of activities had been uploaded on the commission’s website and social media platforms.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the commission, according to its published scheduled of activities, had fixed Oct. 31 for the conduct of the two by-elections, along side those earlier declared for the same date.
Okoye urged political parties to strictly comply with the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) and the commission’s Regulations and Guidelines in the conduct of primaries and nomination of candidates.
He stated that the commission at the meeting further reviewed its preparations for the Edo and Ondo governorship elections as well as all outstanding bye-elections.