The Peoples Democratic Party PDP yesterday was on its way to losing out of the September 19 Governorship Election in Edo state following its decision to reschedule its primary election without recourse to the guidelines released by the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC.
The party had earlier slated its primary election for Saturday 20th June but yesterday decided to shift it to Tuesday 23rd June. Also read: Just in: Court adjourns N700m fraud case against Ize-Iyamu, Orbih, Aziegbemi, Erimuoghae While the Electoral Act requires political parties to give a 21-day notice to INEC for the conduct of their primaries, the election guidelines and regulations released by the electoral umpire requires political parties to give the commission a seven-day notice of their decision to reschedule their primary elections.
They are required to notify INEC stating clearly the reason(s) for the rescheduling as well as the date, venue, and mode of the primary election, at least seven days before the new date. Vanguard checks revealed that the PDP had written INEC on Thursday to reschedule its primary election in Edo state, ostensibly to be able to accommodate the state Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki who had earlier in the week resigned from the All Progressives Congress APC.
The new date is two days short of the seven days’ notice as stipulated by INEC in its guidelines. When asked to speak to the guidelines, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Barr. Festus Okoye told Vanguard that; “Political Parties that intend to sponsor candidates for election must give the Commission the mandatory 21 days notice of their intention to conduct party primaries.
This accords with the intendment of Section 85 of the Electoral Act. “Giving of the notice is what is mandatory. However, a political party can adjust or reschedule the conduct of its primaries but must remain within the Timetable and Schedule of Activities released by the Commission which ends on the 27th of June 2020.
The Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Party Primaries issued by the Commission provide that the conduct of primaries shall commence at the time and venue provided in the relevant notice communicated to the Commission by a political party.
“Paragraph 7.2 of the Regulation and Guidelines provides that rescheduling of any scheduled primary shall be by written communication to the Commission not later than 7 days to the new date, stating clearly, the reason for rescheduling”, he added.