The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has announced dates for the conduct of governorship primaries by political parties in Edo and Ondo States.
INEC’s Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, at a meeting with Residents Electoral Commissioners, in Abuja on Friday said the end of tenure Governorship elections in Edo and Ondo were holding later in the year.
He said given recent experience with some Governorship elections, political parties needed to do more to avoid the conduct of acrimonious primaries or failure to observe due diligence in the screening of their candidates, resulting in protracted litigations and eventual determination of the outcome of elections by orders of court.
“I wish to draw the attention of political parties to two critical dates in the timetable released by the Commission a few weeks ago. Party primaries for the democratic election and nomination of candidates for the Governorship election in Edo State must be held from 2nd to 27th June 2020. The date for Ondo State is 2nd to 25th July 2020. The Commission will not extend the dates. We will also rigorously monitor the primaries and where necessary, apply sanctions as provided by law.
“At the same time, the personal particulars of all the candidates nominated by political parties for the Edo and Ondo Governorship elections, including their academic qualifications, will be displayed in our offices in the two States as required by law. This will enable citizens to scrutinise them and take legal action against any candidate who provides false information to the Commission.
“The personal particulars of candidates will be displayed on 6th July 2020 in Edo State and on 4th August 2020 in Ondo State. I wish to appeal to citizens to note the dates and to seize the opportunity to scrutinise the information provided on oath by the candidates in the interest of our democracy and good governance,” he said.
Yakubu said the Commission had been studying the judgments of courts arising from the conduct of recent elections and had also been reviewing the reports from accredited observers as well as internal reports from State Offices, saying that “We will continue to keep an eye on the conduct of our officials and apply appropriate sanctions on erring staff, both regular and ad-hoc.”
Ahead of the Edo and Ondo Governorship elections, he said critical changes would be introduced to strengthen its processes and procedures, saying the Commission, jointly with the security agencies, was reviewing deployment during elections.
Yakubu stated that the major responsibility of the body was the conduct of elections which must be free, fair and credible.
“The reality in Nigeria today is that elections have become an all-year round activity for the Commission. This year alone, the Commission has conducted elections into 28 constituencies by court order. Four bye-elections will be held in the next three weeks,” he said.