The Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) has appealed to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to extend the June 3 deadline for political parties primaries for the 2023 general election, by two months.
IPAC National Chairman, Mr Yabagi Sani made the call at the INEC quarterly consultative meeting with leaders of 18 registered political parties on Tuesday in Abuja.
Sani said that the demand for the adjustment of the timetable and schedule of activities for 2023 general elections was adopted unanimous by the 18 political parties at the IPAC general assembly meeting.
“In summary, the general assembly of IPAC, after an exhaustive examination of the INEC timetable and related issues, arrived at a unanimous decision to request for an extension of two months to the deadline of the time frame for the conduct of party primaries and resolution of conflicts arising from the primaries:
“By implication, the IPAC leadership is appealing to the INEC to extend the deadline for the conduct of party primaries and resolution of ensuing conflicts from the present INEC given date of June 3 to Aug. 4.
“Some of the issues considered by the IPAC general assembly which necessitated the call for extension in the timeframe of the present INEC timetable and schedule of activities are based on certain circumstances and developments that have hampered timely and strict compliance by the political parties to the timetable,” Sani said.
He listed some of the developments that were not considered by NEC while drawing up the schedule of activities to include Ramadan fast, as well as the Eld-el-fitr and Easter celebrations within the period.
Sani said that others included the governorship election in Ekiti and Osun, adding that IPAC also considered the time allotted by INEC for the conduct of party primaries as too short in view of the efforts required by the political parties for effective and scrupulous screening and selection of their flag bearers.
He also said the unprecedented large number of aspirants jostling to emerge as candidates of their various political parties in the coming general elections has made the task of screening very cumbersome and demanding.
Sani said that political parties also have to be cautious and painstaking in the screening and selection procedures as safeguard against creating rooms for disruptive incidents of litigation by aggrieved aspirants.
“In making the request for extension in the INEC stipulated timetable and schedule of activities for the 2023 general elections, we in the Inter-Party Advisory Council, are not unmindful of the provisions of the Constitution and the Electoral Act with respect to timelines in the electoral process.
“We are however, of the considered view that our request will not, in any way, tantamount to an infringement or, a breach of any extant laws and provisions.
“This is because, the alterations that we are demanding, will not affect the statutory dates already fixed for the conduct of the 2023 general elections.
“We are praying for the slight changes in the timetable for the conduct of party primaries in full consciousness of our position as key stakeholders in the nation’s democratic process and who, at the bottom of it all, constitute not only the greatest beneficiaries but, as the platform of all the registered political parties, we are in fact, the fulcrum around which the entire system and processes revolve.
“We should therefore, be seen as a body of responsible and patriotic interest bloc with a very high sense of responsibility and commitment to the success of every crucial stage and aspects in the electoral chain,” he said.