The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) insists it will not change its verdict on banning the All Progressives Congress (APC) from fielding candidates for the 2019 general election in Zamfara state.
Mahmoud Yakubu, INEC chairman, said this during the opening of a two-day validation workshop titled “Study on the cost of elections in ECOWAS Region” on Monday in Abuja.
“We have issued a statement on Zamfara and nothing has changed. We stand by the statement that we issued,” he said.
Yakubu reiterated that the deadline for submission of party candidates’ name to the commission was October 18, saying that it would give a full report on that after November 18.
INEC had informed the ruling APC in a leaked memo that it would not be allowed to field candidates for elective positions in Zamfara in the 2019 elections.
The commission’s acting secretary, Okechukwe Ndeche, in a letter to the APC said the party was barred from fielding candidates for governorship, national assembly and state assembly elections.
The commission said this was because APC failed to comply with sections 87 and 31 of the electoral act of 2010.
Parties, according to the act, were expected to comply with the timetable and schedule of INEC, which says that the conduct of primaries must be held between August 18 and October 7.
INEC said it received reports from its Zamfara office, indicating that no primaries were conducted in the state “notwithstanding that our officials were fully mobilised and deployed.”
Adams Oshiomhole, APC national chairman, later responded to INEC saying the party had already arrived at a consensus before the deadline.
Oshiomhole said following the high level of friction, disagreements and threats of violence by various political camps before the primaries, all the aspirants met at City King Hotel, Gusau, to find a truce.
“After hours of intense horse-trading, a consensus was reached within the spirit and context of the electoral act and the constitution of our party.
“This was done in strict compliance with Section 87 (6) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended).” he said
He said the claim by INEC that no primaries were conducted could only be referring to its officials’ observation that actual voting did not take place.
The party chairman also noted that PDP had similar issues in Kano state and wondered why INEC did not bar the opposition party from fielding candidates.
Yakubu added that the commission would by the end of November print the outstanding permanent voter cards (PVCs).
“We have printed the PVCs for those who registered in the first quarter of 2018. We are right now simultaneously printing for those who registered in the second and third quarters.
“We are looking at the end of November for all the PVCs to be printed including request for transfer and relocation.
“Let me just repeat the assurance that every citizen that registered and who have applied for transfer or replacement will get his or her PVC before 2019 general elections.” he said
He, however, said that the commission had stopped every registration, request for transfer and replacement of damaged PVCs.