The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Wednesday warned political parties participating in the Edo and Ondo states governorship elections against nominating ineligible candidates.
Its Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, said parties must adhere to constitutional provisions.
He spoke during the second virtual consultative meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES).
“Adherence to these clear constitutional provisions is compulsory to avoid the unnecessary litigations that follow the nomination of candidates, some of which are still pending before the courts,” he said.
Yakubu said experience from the last two governorship elections in Bayelsa and Kogi states makes compliance with the Constitution imperative.
Referring to Section 177 of the 1999 Constitution, he said: “A candidate nominated by a political party must be a Nigerian citizen by birth; must have attained the age of 35 years; must be a member of, and sponsored by, a political party, and must be educated up to at least School Certificate level or equivalent.”
INEC said there would be no extension to the deadline for the submission of candidates’ names by parties.
“All political parties interested in fielding candidates for the election are reminded that they must conclude their primaries for the nomination of candidates in the next 10 days.
“The deadline is Saturday 27th June 2020. I must stress that the date is firm and fixed. There will be no extension of the deadline.
“While the conduct of primaries and nomination of candidates will be the sole responsibility of political parties, our officials will monitor the primaries as required by law,” he said.
The INEC chairman reminded security agencies of their roles during the party primaries, electioneering campaigns, voting and eventual declaration of results in safeguarding the process and protecting all those involved.
Following his resignation from the All Progressives Congress (APC), Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki, yesterday said he was yet to join a new platform.
He tweeted: “I have not moved to a new platform yet to seek re-election.”
But Edo House of Assembly Speaker Francis Okiye said he remained an APC member.
He told reporters during a briefing to mark the Assembly’s first anniversary that the lawmakers had done well despite 14 of the 24-member House not being inaugurated.
Also on Wednesday, a Federal High Court in Abuja restated its June 1 orders restraining Obaseki from arresting the suspended APC National Chairman Adams Oshiomhole over alleged indictment in a white paper submitted to the state government.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed held in a ruling: “The orders of the court made on June 1st still subsists pending the resolution of the issue of jurisdiction.”
The judge spoke while adjourning the suit filed by Oshiomhole to challenge the state government’s probe of his administration’s handling of some projects.
Oshiomhole was Edo governor from November 2008 to November 2016.
A panel of enquiry set up by the Edo State Government, headed by Justice J. Oyomire had, in a white paper, indicted Oshiomhole for corruption.
The panel recommended Oshiomhole’s arrest and prosecution, a decision he is challenging.
Justice Emmanuel Ahamioje of the Benin high court will tomorrow hear a suit seeking to restrain an APC governorship aspirant Osagie Ize-Iyamu from participating in the party’s June 22 direct primary election.
The suit is challenging the May 21 waiver granted Ize-Iyamu by members of the APC National Working Committee (NWC).
It was filed by Kenneth Asekomhe, Benjamin Oghumu, Mathew Ogbebor and Unweni Nosa, who are Obaseki’s loyalists.
The judge had refused to grant an ex-parte application to restrain APC from recognising Ize-Iyamu as an aspirant.