Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, has advised the Independent National Electoral Commission not to stampede the major political parties over the conduct of their primaries.
According to him, INEC’s insistence that political parties complete their primaries by June 3, 2022, is not something the electoral body should compel.
He called it hypocritical that INEC, which had postponed several polls on election day, would refuse to budge on the primary deadline.
“Party primaries are an 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 in a statement on Thursday.
He stated that while the Electoral Act remained clear that political parties have 180 days to election to submit their nomination, which is in August, it seemed what “INEC wants is just for parties to gather somewhere and select candidates anyhow.”
He also argued that while INEC had the power to draw election timetable, it had no such power over the timetable for parties’ primaries.
“The timetable for primaries are the internal affairs of political parties, in so far as they do not violate the electoral act. The right for political parties to internally regulate themselves is an essential part of their freedom of association, in as much as their actions do not violate the constitution and the Electoral Act”, he said.