Primaries: INEC’s Six-Day Extension Gives Advantage to APC

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The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Friday extended the deadline for party primaries by six days, from 4 to 9 June. This gives considerable advantage to the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, over the opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP, for last minute manoeuvres in the selection of their presidential flag bearer. That, however, is provided the PDP too does not decide to take advantage of the shift in the deadline.

Taking advantage of the new development, APC quickly shifted their special national convention for the election of presidential it’s candidate scheduled for 29 and 30 May to weekend.

Unfortunately for PDP, it appeared that the decision came too late for them to manoeuvre as their national convention to choose a presidential flag bearer is slated for Saturday, May 28. They had no option other than to continue with the convention.

Both parties have been engaged in a battle of wits over who would first pick their presidential candidate. In the end the decision of INEC appears to have given APC a headway.

According to the calculations of the ruling party, which is working frantically to retain power, PDP’s choice of a presidential candidate gives them the advantage of finally determining which geo-political zone would be given the presidential slot.

If PDP, which has suspended their zoning principle and thrown the presidential ticket open to all the zones, gives its ticket to the Southeast or South South, APC is likely to do the same. If, however, PDP gives ticket to the Northeast in Atiku Abubakar, as is being speculated, APC will activate the Ahmed Lawan option.

The INEC met with the leadership of political parties on Friday 27th May 2022 and granted their request for an extension in part.

A statement signed by Rotimi Oyekanmi, special adviser media to INEC Chairman, said the political parties requested the Commission to review the timelines for political party primaries provided in the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the conduct of the 2023 General Election released on Saturday 26th February 2022.

“Earlier, the political parties had requested for a 37 – 60 days extension of the timeline for primaries and the nomination of candidates. The Commission was emphatic that this request could not be granted because it would disrupt other scheduled activities on the Timetable. This position of the Commission has not changed.

“However, based on the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2023 General Election, the parties have now pleaded with the Commission to use the 6-day period between 4th and 9th June 2022 to conclude outstanding primaries and prepare to upload the list of candidates and their affidavits on the INEC Candidates Nomination Portal. The Commission did not schedule any specific activity during this period. The idea is to simply give parties time to compile the list and personal particulars of their nominated candidates before uploading the same to the INEC Candidates Nomination Portal from 10th – 17th June 2022.

“The Commission has decided to allow the request of the political parties since the six-day period does not conflict with the next scheduled activity which is the submission of the list of nominated candidates or any of the subsequent timelines which remain sacrosanct. However, this request is granted in respect of outstanding primaries only without prejudice to those already concluded by political parties. The Commission will not monitor already concluded primaries….

“Political parties are therefore advised to ensure that their primaries are free of rancour in order to meet the timelines for the remaining activities embodied in the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2023 General Election.”

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