The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday explained that the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) may not be allowed to participate in the November 6 governorship election in Anambra State due to the party’s non-compliance to Section 85 of the Electoral Act.
The commission has also urged any political party that is not satisfied with its position to go to court.
INEC’s National Commissioner in charge of Publicity and Voters’ Education, Mr. Festus Okoye told THISDAY that APGA had earlier informed the commission of its election to hold ad-hoc delegate congress on June 23, only to later write the commission to declare that the delegates’ election had been conducted.
According to Okoye, “On the 16th of June 2021 the party forwarded to the commission the list of delegates for its congress for the purpose of nominating its candidate for the said election.
“On the 18th June 2021, the Secretary to the Commission responded to the said letter and notified the party that it did not notify the commission of the date of the congress where the ad-hoc delegates were elected as required by Section 85 of the Electoral Act”
Okoye further explained, “ By Section 85 of the Electoral Act 2010(as amended), every registered political party is legally obligated to give the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) 21 days’ statutory notice of its intention to organise any convention, congress, conference or meeting for the purpose of nominating candidates for any of the elective offices specified in the Electoral Act.
“In the statutory notice given to the Commission, the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) proposed June 23, 2021 for the conduct of its State Congress for the purposes of nominating its candidate for the Anambra State Governorship Election holding on the 6th of November 2021”, Okoye explained.
The INEC national commissioner said, “Based on its satisfaction of the 21-day statutory requirement for the holding of its congress, the Commission has concluded arrangements to monitor the said congress and will monitor the congress-taking place on the June 23, 2021.”
Okoye said that prior to the letter of the June 18, 2021, the Commission on the June 3, 2021 drew the attention of all the political parties of the imperative of complying with all constitutional and legal requirements for the conduct of party primaries as the commission is obligated to keep records of the activities of all registered political parties.
He stated that “political parties must remain within the confines of the law and legality in the conduct of their primaries and avoid issues and challenges that may complicate the due conduct of elections.
“However, aspirants, candidates and parties that are aggrieved by the actions, decisions or activities of the Commission, or who complain that any of the provisions of the Electoral Act or any Act of the National Assembly regulating the conduct of primaries of political parties and the provisions of the guidelines of a political party for the conduct of party primaries has not been complied with can approach the courts for redress.
“Political parties must conduct due diligence on the list and personal particulars of their candidates and ensure that party members remain the sole determinants of those that are nominated. Violating the law and the guidelines for the conduct of party primaries will only set the stage for acrimonious primaries and avoidable judicial intervention,” he said.