The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that 15 out of the 18 political parties have notified it of their intention to conduct primaries for the nomination of candidates ahead of the September 19 governorship election in Edo state.
According to the list of political parties, only the All Progressives Congress (APC) would adopt direct primaries on June 22 to nominate the governorship candidate while the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and 13 other parties opted for indirect primaries.
The PDP has slated its own Edo governorship primaries between June 19 and 20, 2020.
In a statement on Tuesday after its virtual meeting, the National Commissioner and chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Barrister Festus Okoye, also disclosed that the commission was vigorously prosecuting electoral offenders arising from the 2019 general elections whose files have been provided by the police after their investigations.
According to Okoye, “So far, 16 case files arising out of the 2019 general elections have been provided by the Police (the lead agency for electoral security) on conclusion of investigation.”
“The cases are in Abia, Anambra, Bayelsa, Gombe, Kogi, Lagos and Niger States, ranging from snatching and destruction of election materials, disorderly conduct, unlawful possession of ballot papers and Permanent Voters’ Cards to canvassing for votes at polling units on election day.
“Besides, two cases emanating from the Bayelsa Governorship election and relating to snatching and destruction of electoral materials are also being prosecuted.”
The Commission warned that it would not condone acts of electoral impunity during the end of tenure governorship elections and the forthcoming by-elections.
“The Commission will work collaboratively with all the security agencies to ensure a good electoral environment for the conduct of elections,” he said.
On the party primaries for the Edo governorship election, the commission urged the various political parties to conduct their primaries in full compliance with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution and Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), regulations and guidelines for the conduct of political party primaries (2018) and the INEC Policy on COVID-19 pandemic of 21″ May 2020.
It further warned political parties to “shun all acts capable of breaching the peace and unsettling the peace and order of the state and jeopardizing the health and safety of party members, election officials and observers.”
By the timetable and schedule of activities issued by the commission released on February 6, 2020, party primaries for the Edo governorship election will take place between June 2 and 27, 2020.