Sunday Aborisade, Abuja
Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has asked the National Assembly to extend the period set for political parties to submit their candidates’ list to the commission from 180 days to six months.
Yakubu made the appeal on Friday at the retreat of the joint Senate and House of Representatives committee on Electoral Act amendments.
He said, “I am excited by many of the provisions already in the draft on the technology side, on inclusivity but even on the administrative side.
“I hope that senators and members of the House will be able to convince your colleagues back in the National Assembly to endorse all these exciting provisions.
“One of the provisions that actually excites me, is certainty in the way we prepare for elections and in new section 29(1) which now commits political parties to conduct their primaries 180 days to the date appointed by the commission for elections.
“ What we want is for parties to conduct their primaries and submit the names of their candidates to the commission at least six months to the next general elections, this will enormously help us.
“So that by say two months to the election, probably all our materials will be on location so there will be less stress.”
Also speaking on the occasion, the British High Commissioner to ECOWAS, Catriona Laing, urged the National Assembly to ensure that the proposed bill gives INEC adequate time to prepare for the polls.
She said, “The amendments should give INEC the time it needs, the political parties as well, the Nigerian citizens to prepare properly for the monumental important election in 2023.”
She commended the commitment shown by the lawmakers to pass the electoral bill latest by the end of March.
Laing said, “The success of any well run election depends entirely on the ones preparing it.
“The UK is really delighted to partner with the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre to be on this journey with you and we are following it very closely not just the UK but my international community colleagues.
“We are all watching and hoping for a good election in 2023 where the voices of Nigerian citizens are really heard.
“We need to ensure that INEC has the time to apply properly for this work.”
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