Presidential Primaries: Pressure Plead On INEC To Extend Deadline

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is under pressure to shift the deadline for the conduct of primaries by political parties by some weeks.

Section 29(1) of the new Electoral Act deals with the time frame within which political parties must submit their list of candidates before the general elections. It stipulates that parties must conduct primaries and submit their list of candidates at least 180 days before the general elections. Key political parties have fixed dates for the conduct of presidential primaries.

Leakblast.com, however, learnt that powerful interests within the All Progressives Congress (APC) have been mounting pressure on INEC for an extension to buy time to complete ongoing negotiations for the late entrance of their presidential aspirant.

It was also learnt that the interest  had reached  out to the   opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and other parties to get their buy-in.Both INEC and PDP , the source claimed , have rejected the move.

The source said“The move is being resisted by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and other political parties that are members of Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC). They’re insisting that the primaries must be held as already scheduled by INEC in its elections guidelines,” a source privy to the deal said.

Already, INEC has given the first week of June as deadline for political parties to conduct and submit names of candidates.

It is unclear if the electoral umpire would  cave in and adjust its earlier elections timetable to accommodate concerns raised by the APC leaders.

Leakblast.com learnt that the entry of a new aspirant from the North East into the presidential race has altered the permutations in the APC. It was learnt that the new aspirant, whose entry has further polarised the APC is also causing ripples in the Villa.

The source said: “INEC has been under immense pressure to adjust the timetable for political parties to conduct primaries. INEC is not succumbing. But the pressure keeps mounting. Unfortunately, INEC cant  get the buy-in of major opposition political parties like  the PDP and members of IPAC. Without their support, INEC can’t do anything.

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“It appears APC  has lost that fight. The new division in the party is over  the entry of a ranking member of the National Assembly into the race. He was suddenly drafted by financiers of a southern candidate who withdrew from the race citing the unwillingness of some powerful forces  in the APC and the presidency  to give him clear  assurance. 

“APC has a lot to do before the deadline. It has not set up a committee on zoning and time is not on its side. The coming weeks will be interesting and the party may face tough challenge  if it doesn’t manage the growing list of aspirants who want to succeed Buhari.”

•APC extends sale of nomination forms

As if to lend credibility to the extension plt, the National Working Committee (NWC) of the APC, yesterday,  announced extension sales of expression of interest and nomination forms to Tuesday, May 10. 

The party in a statement by the its National Publicity Secretary,  Felix Morka, also fixed a new date for congresses to elect local, state and national delegates.

“In a revised timetable issued by the APC National Organising Secretary, Sulaiman Muhammad Argungu, the last day for submission of completed forms and accompanying documents is now set for Wednesday, May 11 while congresses to elect Local Government Area (LGA), state and national delegates would now be Thursday, May 12 May to Saturday, May 14.

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