Monday, December 29, 2014

Nigeria: Parties who miss submission deadline to lose slots – INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has started publication of the names of candidates for 2015 general elections.

To this end, the electoral umpire has declared that parties that fail to submit names of their candidates on the set deadlines should forget fielding candidates for such positions.

The publication of the names by INEC is done at the constituency level for all candidates.

The commission insists parallel primaries are not recognised, stressing that only names of candidates signed by the national chairman and secretary of political parties would be accepted.

INEC guidelines for the 2015 elections show that while the deadline for submission of candidates for presidential and National Assembly elections is December 18, submission of names for governorship and state houses of assembly elections is December 25.

The presidential and National Assembly elections are billed for February 14, 2015, while governorship and state houses of assembly elections are scheduled for February 28, 2015.

Clarifying the electoral body’s position, Kayode Idowu, Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Prof. Atahiru Mega, told LEADERSHIP Sunday that any political party that failed to meet the deadline for submission of candidates’ names to the commission automatically loses the right to present a candidate(s).

“December 25, 2014 was the closing date for submission and any political party that has not submitted a name is not fielding a candidate by implication,” he said, adding that the commission is already “displaying the particulars of candidates for claims and objection at the constituency level as required by law.”

Idowu noted that for the presidential position, whose constituency is Nigeria, “we are displaying it in all INEC offices nationwide.”

“For all other positions, we are displaying that for all the states relevant. It has been on display.”

On parallel candidature, Idowu said, “INEC is concerned, but INEC is not aware of parallel primaries. It has no place in law. The law makes it clear the procedures for conduct of primaries. Political parties shall nominate candidates which INEC will have no cause to reject.”

He reiterated that only the candidates presented by national chairmen and national secretaries of political parties would be recognised.

“INEC has records of the officials of party executives, so INEC knows who is an executive. People who we don’t have records on cannot invite us and we go to monitor their primaries,” he said.

Idowu however noted that only a court ruling can cause the commission to reject a candidate by a party.

“Of course, if a court rules that a candidate nominated by a party must not be accepted, if that happens, we will accept the law.”

Meanwhile, the commission has disclosed that it will setup a committee for the verification of legislative houses candidates (national/state assembly verification/clearance committee).

The committee will visit states between January 4 and 14, 2015, to verify the personal particulars of the candidates.

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The presidential/governorship verification/clearance committee will conduct verification for candidates at the commission’s headquarters, Abuja, from January 16 through 18, 2015.
-Daily Post

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