2023: More reactions trail time table for party primaries | Dailytrust

2023: More reactions trail time table for party primaries

Ismail Mudashir (Abuja), Ado Abubakar Musa (Jos), Eyo Charles (Calabar),  Bola Ojuola, Akure & Jude Aguguo Owuamanam (Owerri) 
On February 12, voters in the six area councils of the FCT elected council chairmen and councilors. At the end of the polls, APC won Gwagwalada, Abaji and Kwali while the PDP won Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), Bwari and Kuje.
The outcome of the FCT council polls and that of today’s by-elections, political analysts said, would serve as a litmus test for the 2023 general elections. The Ekiti and Osun states governorship polls, slated for June and July respectively would be pointers for what Nigerians should expect in 2023 polls.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had fixed today for the conduct of the by-elections in Akure North/Akure South federal constituency, Ondo State; Jos North/Bassa federal constituency, Plateau State; Pankshin South state constituency, Plateau State; and Ogoja/and Yala federal constituency, Cross River State.
Others are Akpabuyo state constituency, Cross River State and Ngor-Okpala state constituency, Imo State.
Plateau: Two seats for grab
In Plateau State, the INEC said it would conduct two by-elections – Jos North/Bassa federal constituency and Pankshin South state constituency to fill the vacuums created by the deaths of Haruna Maitala, who represented Jos North/Bassa in the Green Chamber, and Henry Longs, who represented Pankshin South in the State House of Assembly.
In Pankshin South, the contest is between the candidate of the ruling APC, Ezra Dakup, and that of the opposition PDP, Peter Dasat.
Analysts say though the APC candidate, being a member of the ruling party, would have the support of the government in the state, the election is going to be keenly contested because the two aspirants are popular grassroots mobilisers.
For the Jos North/Bassa federal constituency, although the electoral umpire had published the names of 11 political parties that showed interest in the election, political analysts say the battle is between the candidate of the APC, Joseph Abbey Aku, Musa Agah Avia of the PDP and Muhammad Adam Alkali of the Peoples Redemption PartyPRP.
Alkali of the PRP, who is the only popular candidate from the Jos North Local Government Area, is also gaining ground in the constituency. He left the APC following the controversy that trailed the primary of the party.
The PDP and the APC candidates who are from the same Bassa Local Government Area may divide their votes. This, according to observers, may be to the advantage of the PRP candidate.
However, many observers say that this time around, the opposition, especially the PRP, will give a serious challenge to the ruling APC in the constituency due to the rancour that followed the primaries of the APC.
Ngor Okpala: Tension in Imo as APGA, APC, PDP, 8 others slug it out
Although 11 political parties are contesting in the by-election in Ngor Okpala, only three of them have good standing. They are the ruling APC, the PDP) and the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
The election came as a result of the decision of the Imo State House of Assembly to relieve the former occupant, Kelechi Okereke of the seat for non-performance. Already, there is tension in the state ahead of the by-election.
Blyden Amajirionwu of the APC will slug it out with Chris Nwaiwu of the APGA and Jeff Nwachukwu of the PDP.
The three parties have shown strong determination to win the by-election and have been embarking on vigorous campaigns in the area.
Daily Trust Saturday reports that the poll is not only generating tension but also fiery political fireworks between the three major political parties involved in the election.
The PDP in a statement signed by its acting publicity secretary, Mazi Emenike Nmeregini on Tuesday alleged that the ruling APC intended to abduct its leaders during the election and disrupt voting in polling units across the constituency.
 But the Imo State Government faulted PDP’s claims. Information and Strategy Commissioner, Declan Emelumba, described the PDP as a sinking party that foresees defeat in the by-election.
Also, the APGA chairman, Elder Iwuala, asked the people of the constituency to jettison both the APC and PDP as they have nothing to offer the people of the area.
In spite of all the accusations and counteraccusations, the election will also show the readiness of security agencies to keep peace in a state ravaged by a spate of insecurity.
Already, the INEC has said it is ready for the election. The Imo State resident electoral commissioner, Prof Francis Chukwuemeka Ezeonu, at a press briefing on Tuesday, said the commission had taken delivery of all materials, sensitive and non-sensitive, for the election.
He said 11 political parties were presenting candidates while a total of 94,040 voters would be voting in 193 polling centres, with 800 ad hoc staff supervising the election.
Fear of violence envelopes residents, electorate in C/River
In Cross River State, fear is enveloping the people of Ogoja-Yala federal and Akpabuyo state constituencies ahead of today’s polls.
Our correspondent reports that trepidation, caution and insecurity are much on the minds of Cross River residents and voters in the two places.
The fear of violence is very high on the minds of the people given what transpired last weekend when the state commissioner of police, Aminu Alhassan, confirmed that he ordered his men to block PDP from using a venue in Calabar because the APC youth wing was also using the UJ Esuene Stadium, a few distance away at the same time for its mega rally.
Also, the news of a plan to deploy soldiers at the by-elections venues is already causing apprehension among residents and electorates in these areas.
The presence of Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State at that weekend’s flag-off campaign boosted the Cross River PDP when he encouraged members not to succumb to any threat, intimidation by the police or the state governor.  He assured that nothing would stop the PDP from clinching history.
The ruling APC saw Wike’s presence as a security risk, inciting the electorate and attempting to import political cannibalism into a once politically peaceful Cross River State.
The chairman of the APC in the state, Alphonsus Eba Ogar, vowed to win the two legislative seats, emphasising that they are very crucial to the party.
“It is a must-win through a free, fair and peaceful atmosphere.  We (APC) are the party to beat. Our political evangelism has gained ground. Besides we have political heavyweights in both places. We will win very well,” he said.
PDP, APC optimistic in Ondo
The House of Representatives by-election of the Akure North/South federal constituency of Ondo State will take place today.
A legal practitioner, Olumuyiwa Adu, who emerged as the candidate of the PDP for the election has expressed hope that he would win the election. Mr Mayokun Lawson-Alade also won the All Progressives Congress APC ticket.
The federal seat became vacant following the death of Adedayo Omolafe  in August 2021. The late lawmaker was a member of the PDP and he was popular and loved by the people in the constituency, a factor that may assist Adu, the PDP candidate.
The director-general of the campaign committee of Lawson Alade, High Chief James Kolawole, is also optimistic that the 39-year-old would win the election.
Meanwhile, the security situation in the constituency is normal, a pointer to the fact that there will be no problem during the election.
Expect the best from us – INEC chairman
The chairman of the INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, said Nigerians should expect the best from the commission now that it has the full complement of its commissioners.
The INEC chairman spoke at the State House on Wednesday during the swearing in of six national commissioners by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“It is a good day for the commission with the swearing in of the six national commissioners. We now have the full complement of 12 national commissioners. It is coming three days to by-elections in four states of the federation and as we plan for Ekiti and Osun governorship elections.
“As we continue to prepare for the 2023 general elections, we will go on firing on all cylinders now that we have the full complement of commissioners, so Nigerians should expect the best out of the commission,” he said.
Ismail Mudashir (Abuja), Ado Abubakar Musa (Jos), Eyo Charles (Calabar), Bola Ojuola, Akure & Jude Aguguo Owuamanam (Owerri) On February 12, voters in the six area councils of the FCT elected council chairmen and councilors. At the end of the polls, APC won Gwagwalada, Abaji and Kwali while the PDP won Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), Bwari and Kuje. The outcome of the FCT council polls and that of today’s by-elections, political analysts said, would serve as a litmus test for the 2023 general elections. The Ekiti and Osun states governorship polls, slated for June and July respectively would be pointers for what Nigerians should expect in 2023 polls. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had fixed today for the conduct of the by-elections in Akure North/Akure South federal constituency, Ondo State; Jos North/Bassa federal constituency, Plateau State; Pankshin South state constituency, Plateau State; and Ogoja/and Yala federal constituency, Cross River State. Others are Akpabuyo state constituency, Cross River State and Ngor-Okpala state constituency, Imo State. Plateau: Two seats for grab In Plateau State, the INEC said it would conduct two by-elections – Jos North/Bassa federal constituency and Pankshin South state constituency to fill the vacuums created by the deaths of Haruna Maitala, who represented Jos North/Bassa in the Green Chamber, and Henry Longs, who represented Pankshin South in the State House of Assembly. In Pankshin South, the contest is between the candidate of the ruling APC, Ezra Dakup, and that of the opposition PDP, Peter Dasat. Analysts say though the APC candidate, being a member of the ruling party, would have the support of the government in the state, the election is going to be keenly contested because the two aspirants are popular grassroots mobilisers. For the Jos North/Bassa federal constituency, although the electoral umpire had published the names of 11 political parties that showed interest in the election, political analysts say the battle is between the candidate of the APC, Joseph Abbey Aku, Musa Agah Avia of the PDP and Muhammad Adam Alkali of the Peoples Redemption PartyPRP. Alkali of the PRP, who is the only popular candidate from the Jos North Local Government Area, is also gaining ground in the constituency. He left the APC following the controversy that trailed the primary of the party. The PDP and the APC candidates who are from the same Bassa Local Government Area may divide their votes. This, according to observers, may be to the advantage of the PRP candidate. However, many observers say that this time around, the opposition, especially the PRP, will give a serious challenge to the ruling APC in the constituency due to the rancour that followed the primaries of the APC. Ngor Okpala: Tension in Imo as APGA, APC, PDP, 8 others slug it out Although 11 political parties are contesting in the by-election in Ngor Okpala, only three of them have good standing. They are the ruling APC, the PDP) and the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). The election came as a result of the decision of the Imo State House of Assembly to relieve the former occupant, Kelechi Okereke of the seat for non-performance. Already, there is tension in the state ahead of the by-election. Blyden Amajirionwu of the APC will slug it out with Chris Nwaiwu of the APGA and Jeff Nwachukwu of the PDP. The three parties have shown strong determination to win the by-election and have been embarking on vigorous campaigns in the area. Daily Trust Saturday reports that the poll is not only generating tension but also fiery political fireworks between the three major political parties involved in the election. The PDP in a statement signed by its acting publicity secretary, Mazi Emenike Nmeregini on Tuesday alleged that the ruling APC intended to abduct its leaders during the election and disrupt voting in polling units across the constituency. But the Imo State Government faulted PDP’s claims. Information and Strategy Commissioner, Declan Emelumba, described the PDP as a sinking party that foresees defeat in the by-election. Also, the APGA chairman, Elder Iwuala, asked the people of the constituency to jettison both the APC and PDP as they have nothing to offer the people of the area. In spite of all the accusations and counteraccusations, the election will also show the readiness of security agencies to keep peace in a state ravaged by a spate of insecurity. Already, the INEC has said it is ready for the election. The Imo State resident electoral commissioner, Prof Francis Chukwuemeka Ezeonu, at a press briefing on Tuesday, said the commission had taken delivery of all materials, sensitive and non-sensitive, for the election. He said 11 political parties were presenting candidates while a total of 94,040 voters would be voting in 193 polling centres, with 800 ad hoc staff supervising the election. Fear of violence envelopes residents, electorate in C/River In Cross River State, fear is enveloping the people of Ogoja-Yala federal and Akpabuyo state constituencies ahead of today’s polls. Our correspondent reports that trepidation, caution and insecurity are much on the minds of Cross River residents and voters in the two places. The fear of violence is very high on the minds of the people given what transpired last weekend when the state commissioner of police, Aminu Alhassan, confirmed that he ordered his men to block PDP from using a venue in Calabar because the APC youth wing was also using the UJ Esuene Stadium, a few distance away at the same time for its mega rally. Also, the news of a plan to deploy soldiers at the by-elections venues is already causing apprehension among residents and electorates in these areas. The presence of Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State at that weekend’s flag-off campaign boosted the Cross River PDP when he encouraged members not to succumb to any threat, intimidation by the police or the state governor. He assured that nothing would stop the PDP from clinching history. The ruling APC saw Wike’s presence as a security risk, inciting the electorate and attempting to import political cannibalism into a once politically peaceful Cross River State. The chairman of the APC in the state, Alphonsus Eba Ogar, vowed to win the two legislative seats, emphasising that they are very crucial to the party. “It is a must-win through a free, fair and peaceful atmosphere. We (APC) are the party to beat. Our political evangelism has gained ground. Besides we have political heavyweights in both places. We will win very well,” he said. PDP, APC optimistic in Ondo The House of Representatives by-election of the Akure North/South federal constituency of Ondo State will take place today. A legal practitioner, Olumuyiwa Adu, who emerged as the candidate of the PDP for the election has expressed hope that he would win the election. Mr Mayokun Lawson-Alade also won the All Progressives Congress APC ticket. The federal seat became vacant following the death of Adedayo Omolafe in August 2021. The late lawmaker was a member of the PDP and he was popular and loved by the people in the constituency, a factor that may assist Adu, the PDP candidate. The director-general of the campaign committee of Lawson Alade, High Chief James Kolawole, is also optimistic that the 39-year-old would win the election. Meanwhile, the security situation in the constituency is normal, a pointer to the fact that there will be no problem during the election. Expect the best from us – INEC chairman The chairman of the INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, said Nigerians should expect the best from the commission now that it has the full complement of its commissioners. The INEC chairman spoke at the State House on Wednesday during the swearing in of six national commissioners by President Muhammadu Buhari. “It is a good day for the commission with the swearing in of the six national commissioners. We now have the full complement of 12 national commissioners. It is coming three days to by-elections in four states of the federation and as we plan for Ekiti and Osun governorship elections. “As we continue to prepare for the 2023 general elections, we will go on firing on all cylinders now that we have the full complement of commissioners, so Nigerians should expect the best out of the commission,” he said.

Reactions has continued to trail the revised electoral calendar by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which mandates the conclusion of all party primaries by June 3.

According to the new timetable for the 2023 general elections released on Saturday, INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, announced that all parties are to conclude primary elections for all positions, including resolutions of disputes that may arise therein.

This means that all the registered political parties must pick all their candidates for the 2023 presidency and other contestable positions latest by 3 June, within a 60-day or two-month grace period.

Top contenders for various positions as aspirants, including front line ones like a former Vice President Atiku Abubakar; national leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; current Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo; and former Senate President Bukola Saraki, and others are said to be upping their games ahead of the impending primaries in about four months’ time.

The INEC Chairman, Prof. Yakubu, after the emergency meeting of the commission’s management, told reporters that the conduct of party primaries, including the resolution of disputes arising from them was slated for between Monday April 4, to Friday June 3, this year.

This means that all the registered political parties must pick all their candidates for the 2023 presidency and other contestable positions latest by 3 June, within a 60-day or two-month grace period.

Speaking on the matter, the Director Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Idayat Hassan said that the timetable is long enough a period.

“The timetable as released by INEC is favorable to political parties if only, they can study it and constructively engage it. For instance, they will have the opportunity to regroup after the primaries and pacify groups before the election proper. They (parties) also have more time to campaign as against the previous three months so can now reach the nooks and crannies of the country.

“It will also make the primaries to be less contentious. In fact, the law should not have taken any serious candidate by surprise, they had the draft bill and expected to study and project. Two months is enough, the emphasis should be on calming fray nerves post primary and again they av enough time for it,” she said.

On his part, the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) National Chairman, Engr. Yabagi Yusuf Sani, told Daily Trust that the time table is fine.

“I believe it is okay as parties have been waiting for this legislation for long,” Sani said.

The Executive Director, Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED), Dr. Ibrahim M. Zikirullahi, said that time is of the essence given the that the Electoral Act amendment was passed just a few days ago.

“The INEC had to quickly meet to recalibrate the dates for the elections. Given the circumstance, we believe the timeline given for the conclusion of party primaries should be followed by the parties.

“The important thing is not the long amount of time dissipated on the primary process. What is critical is for the primaries to be transparent, inclusive, participatory and credible. The political parties should be more interested in how to achieve credible and acceptable primaries, which with the right attitude can be done within the shortest possible time,” Zikirullahi said.

Also, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Dr. Victor Ike Oye, said the party can make do with the time available provided the elections will be free and fair.

“We commend President Muhammadu Buhari for giving assent to the new Electoral Act. We are confident it will restore confidence in our electoral process and consolidate our democracy,” Oye said.

Equally, Mallam Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, the Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) and Chairman, Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), told Daily Trust that INEC has limited options regarding the new timetable they issued given the short time the nation have to conduct the 2023 elections.

“This is why CSOs were advocating for timely response to the electoral amendment and the president’s accent to avoid any delay capable of undermining the electoral circle but some forces were working against Nigeria getting a better electoral framework. We can’t afford to shift our election circle because that was what the forces wanted,” Rafsanjani said.

On his part, National Secretary of the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) and former National Chairman of the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), High Chief Peter Ameh, told Daily Trust that the time for primaries is too short and like an ambush for the so-called minor parties, who are not in government.

“If you want to do an election, you must do an electoral system that the framework protects everybody, either ‘big’ or ‘small’ parties to participate fully. But this ambush that you give people three months to run around for parties to put themselves together and organised primaries is not a level playing ground. I wish we could do better,” Ameh said.

Also speaking, a 2023 Presidential aspirant and Chairman of KAFTAN Television, Prince Adewole Omowumi Adebayo, told Daily Trust that primary election is an internal affair of the parties and that the timing should be enough for the parties to conduct their primaries.

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