The Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has asked the presidential and governorship candidates of the 18 registered political parties to pick and submit the lists of their running mates in the next eight days.
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said this on Thursday in Abuja at a meeting with the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs).
This means that the presidential candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar; All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu; and New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Engr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, and others have about a week more to nominate their vice presidential candidates to the commission.
According to him, while the conventions and primaries of candidates by political parties for the 2023 general elections end on Thursday, the nomination of the candidates and their running mates commenced on Friday and ends a week later.
“For the next one week from tomorrow, 10th June, all political parties are required to submit their list of candidates for national elections (presidential/vice presidential, senatorial and house of representatives) latest by Friday, 17th June.
“For state elections (governorship/deputy governorship and state houses of assembly), the list of candidates shall be uploaded from 1st to 15th July as already provided in the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2023 General Election already released by the Commission,” Yakubu said.
He also said that all political parties are required to upload the details of their candidates for each constituency to the INEC Candidate Nomination Portal (ICNP).
The INEC boss said that to achieve this objective, four officials recommended by each of the 18 political parties were trained in the procedure for uploading the nomination forms to the dedicated web portal.
“Confidential Access Codes to the portal have already been given to each Political Party to facilitate the uploading of its nominations.
“For emphasis, the commission wishes to remind Political Parties that only the names of candidates that emerged from democratic primaries as provided by Sec. 84 of the Electoral Act 2022 shall be submitted to the commission,” he said.
He added that the list of all presidential and governorship candidates must be accompanied by the names of their running mates (that is vice presidential and deputy governorship candidates) without which the nomination is invalid, warning that all nominations must be uploaded to the portal on/or before the deadlines.
He said, “All nominations must be uploaded to the portal on/or before the deadlines. The portal will automatically shut down at 6.00pm (1800hrs) on Friday, 17th June 2022 for national elections and 6.00pm (1800hrs) on Friday 15th July 2022 for state elections.
“With this innovation, the commission has eliminated the physical interface between party officials and INEC staff for the purpose of submitting the list of candidates for the 2023 general election.”
Yakubu said that a nomination centre has been set up at the commission’s headquarters to receive and process all nominations by political parties, including dedicated telephone lines to serve as help desk for any party that may need assistance.
Journalists later visited the nomination centre, where the INEC boss said that each of the 18 registered political parties were expected to submit 1,520 nominees or 27,360 total for all the parties.
On the Continuous Voters Registration (CVR), Yakubu said that the introduction of the online pre-registration system and the new INEC Voter Enrollment Device (IVED) helped to reduce the long queues witnessed in the previous registration exercise in 2017 and 2018.
He said that INEC also created additional registration centres and deployed more machines.
Yakubu said, “In three states (Anambra, Ekiti and Osun), the exercise was devolved to Ward level to give more citizens the opportunity to register ahead of their off-cycle governorship elections. Similarly, on weekly basis since 5th July 2021, the commission has been giving weekly detailed updates on fresh registrations nationwide.
“Unfortunately, in some places the exercise was disrupted by general insecurity. In other places, our Local Government Areas offices were consistently attacked resulting in the suspension of all activities, including voter registration.
“A number of IVED machines were snatched and uncollected Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) destroyed. Worse, our registration officials were violently attacked. Some of them were abducted but later released. In one sad incident, an official lost his life. Despite these challenges, the CVR has continued nationwide.”
The INEC boss said that, however, as the deadline for the suspension of the current exercise approaches, the commission has received reports of a surge in the number of prospective registrants that daily throng its state and local government area offices as well as designated centres in many States across the country.
“I wish to reassure Nigerians that the commission remains committed to ensuring that all citizens who wish to register are given the opportunity to do so. This is one of the reasons why this meeting has been convened.
“Already, some of the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) have requested for more voter registration machines to ease the congestion. The commission will deploy additional machines to areas of need immediately.
“Thereafter, the commission will meet to review the progress of the exercise and take further decisions. We will always respond positively to the needs of Nigerians and therefore appeal to all citizens to be patient with the commission as we strive to serve them better. We appreciate the desire of Nigerians to register as voters. Let me reassure all eligible registrants that no one will be left out.”