Acrimonious Party Primaries, Congresses: INEC vows to sanction APC, PDP, others




By Harry Awurumibe, Editor, Abuja Bureau 

Not impressed with the rancorous outcome of political parties congresses and primary elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has threatened to blacklist erring parties from its books.

Speaking out against the backdrop of the recent fracas which marred the congresses and other political gatherings across Nigeria including the Zonal Congress of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kaduna state where voting materials were destroyed, INEC warned that apart from replacing such destroyed materials, parties may be blacklisted from the receipt of INEC materials for their activities in the future. 

Recall that not too long ago, the ruling All Progressives Congress () Party Re-Validation Exercise across the country witnessed thuggery and fracas in Kwara, Zamfara, Ekiti and many other states while some people lost their lives in Anambra state recently when gunmen invaded a political rally organised by former Governor of  Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Prof. Chukwuma Charles Soludo. He is of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA).

The proposed INEC sanctions are contained in a press statement signed by Barrister Festus Okoye, National Commissioner/  Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, made available to on Monday.

The statement read in parts:

“Conduct of Acrimonious Congresses and Primaries by Political Parties 


The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has watched with utmost dismay and profound concern the recurrent acrimony, violence and destruction of property, including the Commission’s property and equipment, which have characterized some recent political party congresses across the country. This is the season of political party congresses and conventions to elect their leaders at various levels of party organization and INEC is mandated by law to monitor them.

These meetings constitute a very important aspect of the electoral process and democracy generally in Nigeria.

The level of violence in some of the Congresses is making it extremely difficult for the Commission to exercise its statutory oversight responsibility enshrined in Sections 85 and 87 of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended). In one such Congress in Kaduna recently, violence broke out leading to the destruction of the Commission’s ballot boxes.

Political parties are reminded that they have a clear obligation to ensure that their Congresses and Conventions are orderly, democratic and in accordance with extant legal framework, their own constitutions and guidelines, as well as INEC’s regulations and guidelines.

This Commission will not stand askance and watch party conventions and congresses degenerate into farcical rituals and violent fiascos that threaten lives and destroy property.

For the avoidance of doubt, INEC will henceforth reconsider its involvement in these events, should they continue to put lives of members of the public and staff of the Commission at risk. Henceforth, there will be far-reaching consequences in any situation where party congresses and conventions degenerate into violence and destruction of INEC property. 

Apart from replacing such destroyed materials, parties may be blacklisted from the receipt of INEC materials for their activities in the future. The Commission may also withdraw its staff from monitoring such violent political party meetings, with the resultant non-recognition of their outcomes.

The Commission wishes to remind political parties of forthcoming primaries to select their candidates for upcoming elections and bye-elections, particularly those for the Anambra State Governorship election and the () Area Council elections. 

Parties must stick to the respective Timetable and Schedule of Activities for these elections as released by the Commission, which have been communicated to them and are available at the INEC website (www.inec.gov.ng).

Parties must ensure that their primaries are peaceful and orderly. Above all, they must adhere strictly to the Electoral Act, INEC Regulations and Guidelines, as well as party constitutions and rules, which are domiciled with the Commission.

Finally, in the conduct of their internal processes, political parties must hold themselves to the same standards they hold the Commission during elections namely, openness, fairness, adherence to rules and peaceful conduct. INEC remains deeply concerned about the acrimony and violence within parties such that there are now more suits in various courts of law arising from party congresses and primaries than from elections conducted by the Commission. Still, the Commission will continue to work with political parties in support of their internal functioning in order to build strong and democratic parties in Nigeria”.

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