The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has warned political parties against non-compliance with provisions of the Electoral Act in the build up to the 2023 elections.
INEC in a statement by its spokesperson Festus Okoye, warned that candidates of parties that refused to conduct valid and transparent primaries would not be fielded for the elections.
“The Commission wishes to reiterate that parties must adhere strictly to the principles of internal democracy, drawing from their constitutions, guidelines, the Electoral Act and other Regulations and Guidelines issued by the Commission.
“Their candidates for the 1,491 constituencies for which elections will be conducted in 2023 must emerge from democratic, transparent and valid primaries.
“In line with the provisions of Sections 29 and 84 of the Electoral Act, 2022, where a political party fails to comply with the provisions of the Act in the conduct of its primaries, its candidate shall not be included in the election for the particular position in issue.
“As required by law, the Commission shall monitor the primaries of each political party that provides the required legal notice in line with Sections 82 (1) and (5) of the Electoral Act.
“Failure of a political party to notify the Commission of any convention or congress convened for the purpose of nominating candidates for any of the elective offices specified in the Act shall render the convention or congress invalid,” INEC said in the statement.
The commission noted that party primaries must be conducted in various constituencies as provided in Section 84 of the Electoral Act.
It stated that it was a violation of the law to conduct primaries outside the constituencies for which parties are nominating candidates, stressing that it will not monitor such primaries or accept their outcomes.
The electoral umpire called on political parties to avoid acrimonious primaries that could result in unnecessary litigations which might lead to failure to nominate and field candidates for elections.
According to the 2023 elections timetable, political parties are expected to have their primaries from April 4 to June 3, 2022.