No credible primaries without membership register, INEC warns parties
By TUNDE JOSHUA
- Only one party has complied – Yakubu
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has warned political parties that they stand the risk of invalidating primary elections conducted without submitting a credible membership register.
Chairman of the commission, Prof Mahmood Yakubu said “there can be no credible primary or general election without a credible register of voters.”
He sounded this note of warning on Friday at the second regular quarterly meeting for the year 2022 with Residents Electoral Commissioners from the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Yakubu disclosed that only one political party has so far complied with the constitutional provisions that requested political parties to submit to INEC credible membership registered at least 30 days before the conduct of either general or primary election, The Trumpet gathered.
“Let me also seize this opportunity to remind political parties that by the provision of Sec. 77 of the Electoral Act 2022, each party is required to maintain a membership register in hard and soft copy and to make such register available to the Commission not later than 30 days before the date fixed for primaries, congresses and conventions. “So far, only one political party has complied.
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It is a mandatory requirement of the law and all parties are required to comply. Doing otherwise is like going into an election without the register of voters.” Speaking on the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2023 General Election released by the Commission, the chairman said so far, 14 parties have submitted their notices and schedule of primaries to the Commission.
He said “as required by law, the Commission shall monitor the primaries in the constituencies where the parties intend to field candidates. This means that the State offices will be heavily involved in the exercise.” Yakubu urged Resident Electoral Commissioners to exercise their monitoring responsibility with absolute neutrality.
“There are sanctions for violation of the law and you should know this and warn our staff accordingly,” he warned. He further charged the RECs to be conversant with provisions of the Electoral Act 2022.
“I urge you to thoroughly study the new law. A credible election is anchored on the law. As you are aware, the Electoral Act, together with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and our Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections, constitute the electoral legal framework for elections.
As election managers, it is incumbent upon us to familiarise ourselves with the legal framework,” he said.