There has been significant pressure on the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, from political parties demanding an extension in the primary election deadline of June 3.
The commission had stated that the election scheduled for 2023 would not be changed. However, there has been increasing pressure from the political parties demanding an extension of the deadline by one week.
The leadership of the 18 registered political parties under the aegis of the Inter-Party Advisory Council, IPAC revised their demand and requested the commission to extend the deadline by one week at a meeting with the commission on Friday in Abuja.
IPAC had previously requested a two-month extension, which the commission flatly refused.
At a meeting in Abuja on Friday, IPAC National Chairman, Yanagi Sani, urged INEC to reconsider the timetable, which he described as “very tight” given the fact that the new electoral legislation is being implemented for the first time.
Sani said: “The fact is that anything one is doing for the first time, you may make some mistakes,” Sani said. “And we feel that if we’re given more time, we’ll be able to deliver on the promise of having free and fair elections as we conduct our primaries”
“We are very grateful to you because of the innovations that you have brought to the electoral process and we want to be partners in progress that is why we are asking you to consider giving a little adjustment in the timetable to enable this important assignment”
While reaffirming the IPAC chairman’s position, Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) national leader Dan Nwanyanwu said the “window” will allow them to complete the duty flawlessly.
Responding, The chairman of INEC, Mahmood Yakubu responded stated that the commission will not change the June 3 deadline for the primaries of the 18 political parties.
He said: “We just heard from the chairman of IPAC who on behalf of the political parties has once again requested a review of our election timelines”
“It appears that the proposition this time around is different from the request made by IPAC for which the commission has responded emphatically that an extension between 30 and 60 days will not be entertained. Because of the overlapping activities”
“It appears that the parties have now presented a more define request for what the chairman calls for a little adjustment”
Yakubu added that a statement will be issued after a working session with the parties.