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Yakubu dubs 2018 primaries the worst, says INEC facing 396 court cases



Aspirant threatens INEC with court suit if it fails to disqualify all APC candidates

Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Professor Mahmood Yakubu, has described some of the outcome of political parties primaries for the 2019 general elections as “most acrimonious” in the nation’s history.

He regretted that the electoral body already had been joined in 396 cases pending in courts following the outcome of the primaries.

Yakubu said that the commission may still be involved in more court cases especially as it has received 302 requests for Certified True Copies (CTCs) of documents, mainly from monitoring reports of party primaries and copies of personal particulars of candidates.

He added that INEC had also received 52 petitions and protests from aggrieved party aspirants across the country.

Yakubu spoke on Friday during 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.

“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.

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According to the INEC chairman, 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.

He also said that only a few parties nominated candidates below the mandatory age of 35 years for presidential and vice-presidential candidates.

The attention of the parties, has been drawn to the breach of the constitutional requirement ahead of the publication of the full list of presidential and vice presidential candidates for the 2019 general elections.

On the number and gender of candidates he said, “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.”

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He reiterated the commission’s readiness to ensure free, fair and credible elections, adding that INEC did not and would never tolerate any breach of the strict timelines provided for in the timetable for the elections.

He explained that seven out of the 14 activities strictly on the schedule for the election had been successfully implemented.

Yakubu further said that parties which failed to observe the democratic process in selecting candidates during primary elections have no moral right to complain about secondary elections.

The major opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has been demanding for Yakubu’s resignation as INEC chairman over the allegation that has been working and would still work with the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to compromise the 2019 elections.

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