The Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) has appealed to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to extend the June 3 deadline for political parties’ primaries by two months.
IPAC national chairman, Yabagi Sani, appealed at the INEC quarterly consultative meeting with 18 registered political party leaders on Tuesday in Abuja.
Mr Sani said that the demand for adjusting the timetable and schedule of activities for the 2023 general elections was adopted unanimously by the 18 political parties at the IPAC general assembly meeting.
“By implication, the IPAC leadership is appealing to the INEC to extend the deadline for conducting party primaries and resolving ensuing conflicts from the present INEC given date of June 3 to August 4.
He explained that some of the issues that made parties demand an extension “are based on certain circumstances and developments that have hampered timely and strict compliance by the political parties to the timetable.”
He listed some of the developments that were not considered by NEC while drawing up the schedule of activities as the Ramadan fast, the Eld-el-Fitr and Easter celebrations within the period.
Mr Sani said that others included the governorship election in Ekiti and Osun.
He noted that IPAC also considered the time allotted by INEC for party primaries as too short, given the efforts required by the political parties for effective and ethical screening and selection of their flag bearers.
He also said the unprecedented number of aspirants jostling to emerge as candidates of their various political parties in the coming general elections has made screening very cumbersome and demanding.
Mr Sani said that political parties also have to be cautious and precise in the screening and selection procedures as a safeguard against creating room for disruptive incidents of litigation by aggrieved aspirants.
“We are, however, of the considered view that our request will not, in any way, tantamount to an infringement or a breach of any extant laws and provisions.
“This is because the alterations that we are demanding will not affect the statutory dates already fixed for the conduct of the 2023 general elections.”
Earlier in his remarks at the meeting, which was the first since the Electoral Act 2022 was signed on February 25, INEC chairman Mahmood Yakubu, reiterated the June 3 deadline for political parties’ primaries remained in effect.
Mr Yakubu said that any extension in the timeline for an activity would affect other activities and put unnecessary pressure on political parties and the commission.
“I hereby reiterate the position of the Commission that there will be no review of the timelines. There are so many interrelated activities associated with the timelines that must be carried out.
“Any review to extend the timeline for one activity will affect other activities and put unnecessary pressure on political parties and the commission.”