With the presidential nomination conventions by political parties concluded, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), yesterday, rolled out conditions for the submissions of presidential, governorship, National and State Assemblies’ candidates to the commission.
The commission, which said it was expecting 1,500 candidates to be nominated by each political party for the 2023 general election, also pledged that all eligible Nigerians must be registered as prospective voters ahead of the elections.
1500 multiplied by 18 political parties gives you 27,000 candidates expected to be presented to INEC by all the parties.
This is as the federal government, has promised to secure voters during the governorship election in Ekiti State June, even as the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, has hinted that the police would deploy 17,374 of their men for the election.
However, the conditions for submission of candidates were rolled out by the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, at a meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners in Abuja.
Rolling out the conditions, the INEC boss, said, “For emphasis, the Commission wishes to remind Political Parties that only the names of candidates that emerged from democratic primaries as provided by Sec. 84 of the Electoral Act 2022 shall be submitted to the Commission.
“Similarly, the list of all Presidential and Governorship candidates must be accompanied by the names of their running mates (i.e. Vice Presidential and Deputy Governorship candidates) without which the nomination is invalid.
“All nominations must be uploaded to the portal on/or before the deadlines. The portal will automatically shut down at 6.00pm (1800hrs) on Friday 17th June 2022 for national elections and 6.00pm (1800hrs) on Friday 15th July 2022 for State elections.
“With this innovation, the Commission has eliminated the physical interface between party officials and INEC staff for the purpose of submitting the list of candidates for the 2023 general election,” he stated.
The INEC chair further stressed that a Nomination Centre, has been set up at the Commission’s Headquarters to receive and process all nominations by political parties, including dedicated telephone lines to serve as Help Desk for any party that may need assistance.
Accordingly, Yakubu said, “In our avowed commitment to openness and transparency of the process, the media will be invited to the Nomination Center so that Nigerians will see our level of preparedness for the exercise.”
He urged all political parties to upload the details of their candidates for each constituency to the INEC Candidate Nomination Portal (ICNP).
“To achieve this objective, four officials recommended by each of the 18 political parties were trained on the procedure for uploading the nomination forms to the dedicated web portal. Confidential Access Codes to the portal have already been given to each political party to facilitate the uploading of its nominations,” he said.
In view of this, Yakubu said, “Turning to the nomination of candidates by political parties for the 2023 general election, all primaries end today Thursday 9th June 2022. For the next one week from tomorrow 10th June 2022, all political parties are required to submit their list of candidates for national elections (Presidential/Vice Presidential, Senatorial and House of Representatives) latest by Friday 17th June 2022.
“For state elections (Governorship/Deputy Governorship and State Houses of Assembly), the list of candidates shall be uploaded from 1st to 15th July 2022 as already provided in the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2023 General Election already released by the Commission,” he stressed.
Also, when he led journalists to the nomination centre located within INEC headquarters, he disclosed that INEC expected each political parties to nominate 1,500 candidates for 2023 general election within the window made available for the exercise.
By implication, the commission is expecting 27000 candidates from the 18 political parties for next year’s general election.
He clarified that the centre was basically for INEC staff to process the nominations submitted by political parties, and not for the use of political parties as they could upload their nominations from anywhere.
He advised political parties not to wait till the last day before commencing their uploading of their nominations into the commission’s dedicated portal as deadline remained sacrosanct.
“My advice to political parties is that since they have concluded their primaries, they should start uploading from tomorrow, Friday, June 10. Let them not wait until the last day which is June 17, because if there are difficulties on the last day, they will not be able to upload after 6pm.
“So let them start uploading earlier so that when there are issues, they can be attended to before 6pm, but this centre is essentially for the commission. No more human interface,” he said.
Also, rising from a Security Council Meeting, Minister for Internal Affairs, Rauf Aregbesola, said adequate security arrangement had been made for the Ekiti State gubernatorial election taking place on June 18, 2022.
According to him, “Appropriate preparation is put in place for the elections coming up in Ekiti, this month, and Osun, next month, principally by Nigeria Police and supported by other security agencies, and to some extent, the military. That’s the long and short of it.
“The president wants us to assure Nigerians that his administration is committed to providing adequate security and ensuring the maintenance of law and order, so that Nigerians will be able to go about their businesses, particularly, farmers, who will want to go to their farms without any fear of attack or molestation.”
On his part, Inspector-General of Police, Baba, while commenting on the level of preparedness for the upcoming Ekiti and Osun state elections, said “for the police, just like the Minister said, other security agents followed, but as for the police, we are deploying 17,374 policemen.”
Answering question on the recent kidnap and release of the Prelate of Methodist Church, His Eminence Samuel Kanu-Uche, the IG said no arrest had been made, but said the matter was still being investigated.
“For the issue of the kidnapping of the Methodist Church Prelate, no arrest has been made in terms of suspects, but we are still on it, arrest doesn’t have to come immediately. The case is still under investigation. The case is open and we are still looking for the suspects.
“We have leads, we have some issues that we are still following through how the ransom was collected and how the negotiations were done. We have information to that effect and we’re looking at getting into the real aspect of getting the suspects arrested.”
He, however, appealed to the public to disregard reports that a helicopter attack recently claimed some casualties in Kaduna, saying it was fake news.
His words: “As for the issue of helicopter attack, the allegations are there, the assertions are there. We have not been able to say there is any helicopter attack on innocent citizens, like you have suggested. But most of the times, these assertions are made and up till now, we’ve not been able to see or we’ve not been able to identify any helicopter that is flying and killing people unnecessarily.
“But there are instances where our own helicopters, security forces helicopters, are flying, but we don’t have that allegation of innocent people being killed, except where in some instances in the past, where the military helicopters had, maybe in one way or the other, missed target or misdirected target and so forth.
“But that issue has not been an issue of discussion in the security meeting. We are still looking into the allegation and we are still looking into the assertions. If there are any leads to follow, we’ll do that.”
Group Warns APC, PDP, SDP against Vote Buying
A non-governmental organisation and election observer specialist, Yiaga Africa, has warned the three prominent parties contesting the June 18 governorship poll in Ekiti State to shun vote buying and allow the will of the electorate to prevail.
Yiaga also appealed to Ekiti State’s electorate to troop out en masse to display their civic responsibilities and vote for candidates of their choice in the June 18 governorship poll.
The body tasked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to correct the perceived lopsidedness in the spread of votes across units, fearing that this could trigger apathy in the impending electoral battle, when voters are finding it difficult to vote or queue for long.
Yiaga said this in Ado Ekiti, yesterday, at a press conference organised to sensitise the populace on the need to resist apathy and vote buying in the election, among other issues.
The Director of Programme, Yiaga Africa, Cynthia Mbamalu, who addressed the pressmen, said the All Progressives Congress, the Peoples Democratic Party and the Social Democratic Party, were the three suspected political parties with tendencies to allegedly induce the voters out of the 16 parties in the race.
“These are the three parties that can induce the voters going by our research. We warn them to desist and allow the will of the electorate to prevail. The voters must resist them, because if there are no sellers of votes, there won’t be buyers.
“Vote buying is a bad value we must eliminate. The consequence is an absence of good governance. The N1,000 you collected during election or primary may not guarantee you access to good healthcare delivery, security, so it is a crime,” Mbamalu said.