By Naomi Sharang
Abuja, Jan. 29, 2021 Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has advocated for six-months deadline for political parties to submit the list of their candidates for elections in the country.
Yakubu made the call at a retreat of the National Assembly’s Joint Committee on INEC and Electoral Matters in Abuja on Friday.
The retreat which was part of activities geared toward amending Nigeria’s Electoral Act 2010.
Yakubu said that if the proposed provision scaled through, it would help the commission to prepare better for elections.
“One of the provisions that actually excites me a lot is it will help the commission if there is certainty in the way we prepare for elections; and in the new section, it now commits political parties to conducting their primaries 180 days to the date appointed by the commission for elections.
“This means that parties could conduct their primaries and submit the names of their candidates to the commission at least six months to the general elections.
“This will enormously help us so that by say two months to the election, probably all our materials will be on location so there will be less stress,” he said.
Sen. Kabiru Gaya, Chairman Senate Committee on INEC, emphasised that the draft copy of the report of the technical committee was a working document.
“In fact, the purpose of this retreat is to conduct a clause by clause examination of the report and also prepare it for consideration by the Senate and House of Representatives,” he said.
He said that whatever was to be crafted in the electoral bill would be done with the supremacy of the Constitution as a superintendent umbrella.
In a goodwill message, British High Commissioner, Permanent Representative to ECOWAS, Catriona Laing said that the amendment would give INEC the time needed to prepare properly for the monumental important election in 2023.
“This will give INEC the time it needs, the political parties as well and the Nigerian citizens to prepare properly for the 2023 General Elections.
“The success of any well-run election depends all entirely on the ones preparing it.
“The UK is really delighted to partner with PLAC to be on this journey with you and we are following it very closely not just the UK but my international community colleagues.
“We are all watching and hoping for a good elections in 2023 one where the voices of Nigerian citizens will be really heard,” Laing said.