The Independent National Electoral Commission on Tuesday said it has no intention of extending the timeline for party primaries.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu made the comment while speaking at a consultative meeting with leaders of political parties in Abuja.
Political parties in the country had asked INEC to extend the timelines for the 2023 general elections by two months.
Specifically, the parties want slight changes to the primaries’ timeline, as stipulated by the electoral umpire.
But Yakubu insisted the timeline for primaries remains fixed between April 4 and June 3.
“Twice in the last two weeks, the Commission had cause to remind political parties of the necessity for strict compliance with the timelines for party primaries,” the INEC Chairman said.
“I hereby reiterate the position of the Commission that there will be no review of the timelines. There are so many inter-related activities that are associated with the timelines which 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. This will ultimately result in more complications than what the extension seeks to achieve.
“Therefore, the Commission will not review the timelines. Working together, we should ensure fidelity to the timelines in conducting transparent and democratic primaries for the purpose of electing candidates for the 1,491 constituencies for which elections will be held on 25th February and 11th March 2023.”
Yakubu asked the parties to ensure their primaries make room for Women, youths and persons with disability.
“To assure citizens that you are not paying lip service to this commitment, political parties should encourage greater involvement of all under-represented segments of the society as candidates for elections,” he said.
“This is the only way we can change the reality of increasingly low level of representation of these critical segments of the society in legislative assemblies in particular and the governance of our country in general.”