INEC chairman Prof. Mahmood Yakubu who spoke at a capacity-building workshop for journalists, jointly organised by INEC, European Centre for Electoral Support, European Union and European Union Support for Democratic Governance in Nigeria, disclosed that the 2018 party primaries is among the worst in Nigeria.
The INEC Chairman who disclosed that the commission had received 52 petitions and protests from aggrieved party aspirants over controversial primaries, added that the commission had already been joined in 396 pending cases in various courts across the country over the conduct of party primaries and nomination of candidates.
According to Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, there would likely be more court cases, given the over 300 requests for Certified True Copies of documents from the commission, which he said was a prelude to more court actions.
“Unfortunately, we have also witnessed some of the most acrimonious party primaries in our recent history. Internal party democracy is still a source of concern to our electoral progress. So far, the commission has been joined in 396 pending actions in various courts across the country arising from the conduct of party primaries and nomination of candidates by political parties.
“We have similarly received 302 requests for CTCs of documents, mainly our monitoring reports of party primaries and copies of personal particulars of candidates. These requests are obviously a prelude to more court actions. In addition, we have also received 52 petitions and protests from aggrieved party aspirants.
“The implication of these challenges is that as we prepare for the general elections, we are also going to grapple with pre-election litigations” he said.
Punch reported that the chairman also disclosed that about 73 political parties had filed their nominations at the end of the period for the substitution and withdrawal of candidates, for the 2019 presidential election.
The INEC Chairman who gave an update on the number and gender of candidates competing for elections into the National Assembly seats, also disclosed that few parties nominated candidates below the mandatory age of 35 years for presidential and vice-presidential candidates. According to him, 6,483 candidates were jostling for the 469 seats at the National Assembly.
“For National Assembly elections, a total of 1,848 candidates (1,615 males and 233 females) are vying for 109 senatorial seats while 4,635 candidates (4,066 males and 569 females) are competing for the 360 seats in the House of Representatives.
“Similarly, the full list of candidates and their political parties will be published for public information in line with the commission’s timetable and schedule of activities.
“As for state elections, a total of 1,068 candidates (980 males and 88 females) are contesting 29 governorship positions, with 805 males and 263 female deputy governorship candidates.
“The commission is working on the list of candidates nominated by political parties for the 991 state assembly constituencies as well as the 68 area council chairmen and councillors for the Federal Capital Territory. The full details will also be published for public information in line with our timetable and schedule of activities” he said.
On conducting a free and fair election, Mahmood who disclosed that INEC did not and would never tolerate any breach of the strict timelines provided for in the timetable for the elections, added that parties that failed to respect the democratic process in selecting candidates during primary elections had lost the moral right to complain about secondary elections.