2023: Abuja school cautions INEC against candidates from invalid primaries
NNN: The Abuja School of Social and Political Thoughts has cautioned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) against accepting candidates who emerged from invalid primaries.
The school said this in a statement by its director, Dr Sam Amadi on Monday in Abuja.
Amadi said that the advice became necessary following reports that some party leaders were submitting names of some high-profile politicians who did not win INEC- monitored primaries.
“This is a clear violation of the provisions of the electoral law.
“As an intellectual and policy think-tank committed to assisting state institutions to deliver on their mandates, the school was alarmed at the efforts to undermine the provisions of the electoral law as regards to submission of nominated candidates to INEC.
“There is a case of an incumbent principal officer in the Senate and an immediate former Minister who featured at presidential primaries.
“Although they lost the primaries, we have information that they are making efforts to regain senate seats from the winners of the duly conducted primaries, who have refused to give up their tickets,” he said.
Amadi said that in spite of the winners’ refusal, there were reports alleging that their names have been submitted against the will of the winners of the valid conducted primaries.
“We call on INEC to discharge its regulatory obligation by rejecting every submission of names of persons who did not emerge from valid primary elections as candidates for elective offices in the 2023 general elections.
“INEC should realise that the new electoral act has imposed an obligation on it to review all filings and submissions by political parties.
“To disallow fraudulent and false fillings or submissions in line with the electoral act and the 1999 Constitution, INEC should note that any legal advice asking it to abandon its regulatory duty and await court action for judicial redress, will be bad,” he said.
Amadi said that building from the errors of the past that undermined the credibility of Nigeria electoral democracy, the legislature had imposed the obligation of legality on the party and the responsibility of regulatory oversight on INEC.
“Submitting names of persons who did not win duly conducted primaries on INEC portals is contrary to the electoral law.
“The electoral law requires that only persons who won duly conducted primaries should be submitted as candidates.
“It is INEC that determines what is a duly conducted primary based on its guidelines and the electoral law.
“The practice in the past where INEC allowed parties to make wrong and fraudulent entries and hoped that the courts will reverse them has gone with the new Electoral Act which now empowers INEC to reverse such fraudulent and wrong actions by the parties,” he said.
He said that Section 84 (1) and 84 (13) of the Electoral Act, 2022 and others aim to ensure that only candidates who win duly conducted primaries were presented for elections.
Amadi said that unlike in previous electoral law, the new law authorizes INEC to disqualify candidates who did not emerge from a duly conducted primary which INEC monitored.
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