Factual Pursuit of Truth for Progress
A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim, has told the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that the deadline given to political Parties is unreasonable and illegal.
This is as INEC insisted that political parties must conclude their primaries before June 3, 2022.
He therefore warned against stampeding various political parties over the conduct of their primaries.
The APC Chieftain argued that it was hypocritical that INEC, which had postponed many elections on the very day of election, would refuse to shift ground on the deadline for primaries.
“Party primaries are integral part of the democratic process, and it is bewildering that INEC is not even interested in debates between aspirants, which remains a huge opportunity to define party platforms,” he said.
The presidential candidate of Peoples Trust during the 2020 general elections said while the Electoral Act, 2022 remained clear that political parties have 180 days to election to submit their nomination, which would be due by August, it seemed what “INEC wants is for parties to gather somewhere and select candidates without due process.”
He also argued that while INEC has power to draw election timetable, it has no such power over timetable for parties’ primaries.
Olawepo-Hashim said, “The timetable for primaries is the internal affairs of political parties in so far as they do not violate the Electoral Act. The right of political parties to internal regulation is an essential part of their freedom of association in as much as their actions do not violate the 1999 Constitution and the Electoral Act.”
While insisting that democracy is a process and not an event, Olawepo-Hashim submitted that “it is, therefore, hypocritical that INEC, which has postponed many elections on the very day of election, will now be insisting that its suggested dates of primaries, which are outside the provisions of the law, are sacrosanct.
“We are in a testy transition process where flexibility is needed within the limits of the law. It is also amazing that everyone is keeping quiet about this whole thing. Some sections of the media are justifying it and criticising political parties for requesting for more time for their primaries.”
He also countered what he described as ‘the spurious argument that time is needed for dispute resolution in the court and wondered “when has it become the business of INEC to set up calendars for judicial matters that can go on for years into the tenure of the next administration.”