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INEC Warns Parties Against Parallel Primaries

Those conducting parallel primaries to pick candidates for next year’s general election risk sanctions, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has warned.

Besides, such elections are in futility. The commission vowed to admit the results and candidate of primaries monitored by its men.

With the latest development, the commission may recognise candidates for Senate, House of Representatives, State Assembly in Edo State from the group led by the National Vice Chairman(Southsouth) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dan Orbih.

Delegates from the Governor Godwin Obaseki’s camp may not participate in the National Convention of PDP scheduled for tomorrow and Saturday.

The congress that produced the delegates from the Obaseki faction was not monitored by INEC.

The same circular may determine the fate of PDP governorship aspirants in Ogun State where there were parallel primaries.

INEC made the clarifications in a May 25 letter to parties by the Secretary to the commission, Rose Oriaran-Anthony.

The letter reads: ”The commission hereby draws the attention of all political parties to the provision of Section 84(1) of the Electoral Act 2022 which requires as follows: ‘A political party seeking to nominate candidates for elections under this Act shall hold primaries for aspirants to all elective positions which shall be monitored by the commission.’

“In line with this position, the commission shall, in monitoring primaries only recognise delegates that emerge from congresses duly monitored by the commission.

“Please accept the assurance of the commission’s best wishes and regards.”

A top source in the commission, who spoke in confidence, said: “INEC is determined to comply with Electoral Act 2022 and the guidelines for the conduct of primaries by political parties. The era of impunity at any level is gone.

“For a free and fair election in 2023, parties must conduct their activities within the law. If parties are able to respect the rules, there will be less pre-election litigations and post-election matters will be minimal.

“If you know how much INEC is spending on litigations, you will appreciate why we have decided to stick to the laws.”

Obaseki and Orbih have been at loggerheads over election of candidates and delegates to the PDP National Convention.

The governor had stuck to those who defected with him from the All Progressives Congress (APC) and ensured that they emerged as the party’s candidates for 2023 poll.

But Orbih ensured that only the old PDP members emerged winners of primaries supervised by INEC officials and national officials of the party.

It was gathered that the same circular may determine the fate of other candidates from primaries that were not supervised by the electoral umpire.

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