The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu, on Tuesday emphasised that with less than six days remaining until the close of nomination for the off-cycle governorship election in Edo State, only six political parties have submitted the names of their candidates to the commission.

During the first regular quarterly meeting between the Commission and the political parties, Prof. Yakubu urged parties to adhere to the scheduled timetable as released by the Commission. He stated firmly that there would be no extension of time for parties to upload the names of their candidates to the commission’s dedicated portal.

Prof. Yakubu announced that the Edo state governorship election is slated for Saturday, 21st September 2024, and the Ondo State Governorship election for Saturday, 16th November 2024.

He stressed, “Party primaries for the Edo State Governorship election have been concluded and by the timetable and schedule of activities for the election, political parties have 20 days to upload the list and personal particulars of their candidates to our dedicated portal.”

Despite the portal being open since March 4th, 2024, and set to close on Saturday, March 24th, 2024, only six parties have uploaded their nominations so far. Prof. Yakubu cautioned against any last-minute rush that might compromise the successful nomination of candidates.

He affirmed, “There will be no extension of time beyond the deadline already published in the timetable and schedule of activities for the election, to enable us to publish the personal particulars of candidates (Form EC9) on 31st March 2024 as required by law.”

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Regarding the Ondo governorship election, Prof. Yakubu stated, “For the Ondo State Governorship election, party primaries begin in the next two weeks on 6th April 2024 and end three weeks later on 27th April 2024. So far, 16 out of 19 political parties have indicated interest in participating in the election.”

He urged political parties to adhere strictly to their proposed dates and modes of primaries, emphasizing that frequent changes, as witnessed recently during the Edo primaries, are disruptive and costly.

Prof. Yakubu also cautioned against acrimonious primaries and the tendency to grant waivers to candidates who were recently members of other political parties. He highlighted the importance of avoiding unnecessary litigation among party members.

Furthermore, the chairman addressed the issue of legal fees and certified true copies (CTCs), suggesting that these resources could be used more productively in other electoral activities by both political parties and the Commission.

Regarding the recently concluded by-elections, Prof. Yakubu noted the disruptions in Enugu South 1 State Constituency of Enugu State and Kunchi/Tsanyawa State Constituency of Kano State due to thuggery. He assured stakeholders that the Commission is engaging with security agencies and will soon announce a new date for the re-run elections in the affected constituencies.