The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has warned against falsification of figures, saying it will authenticate the membership registers submitted to it by political parties.
INEC, however, warned that any political party that falsifies its figures or has multiple registrations on its register may have its candidate(s) disqualified.
The electoral body has sent out this notice ahead of the primaries of political parties scheduled to end on June 3.
It said whether the parties choose to adopt direct or indirect primaries, the commission would verify their delegates’ lists against the registers they submitted, adding that no infraction would be tolerated from the 18 registered political parties.
Section 77 of the Electoral Act, 2022 mandates all political parties to maintain membership registers and submit the same to the commission not later than 30 days before their respective primaries.
Subsection 2 of the Act states, “Every registered political party shall maintain a register of its members in both hard and soft copies,” while the subsection 3 reads, “Each political party shall make such a register available to the commission not later than 30 days before the date fixed for the party primaries, congresses or convention.”
INEC had fixed party primaries for between April 4 and June 3, and most parties have scheduled their primaries for May. This means the parties have till Tuesday, May 3, 2022, to submit their registers.
Findings, however, revealed that the parties preferred to schedule their primaries towards the deadline set by INEC so as to be able to keep an eye on one another.
Another reason, according to party sources, is to limit the drastic options open to persons aggrieved during the primaries.
For example, the ruling APC said its presidential primary would hold between May 30 and June 1; Senate, May 24; House of Representatives, May 22; state Houses of Assembly, May 20, while the governorship primary would hold on May 18.
The party, which is in power in 22 states, claimed about 40 million members in the register it submitted to INEC.
Also, the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which is in power in 12 states, said it would hold its presidential primary on May 28 and 29; governorship primary, May 21; Senate, May 14; House of Representatives, May 12; and state Houses of Assembly, May 7.
In his response, Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi, who is the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said, “The Independent National Electoral Commission will authenticate the membership register of political parties that opt for direct primaries for nominating their candidates.
“For the indirect primary mode, political parties are also required to give their lists of delegates to the commission.”