The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been advised to shift Kogi State off-season governorship primary election from February 2023 as earlier scheduled in the interest of fairness.
The APC candidate, Sunday Karimi said the shift became necessary as a result of the general election which has been scheduled for March 2023, adding that it won’t be right for the state to face the general election which candidates of political parties other than governorship are contesting simultaneous with the governorship primaries.
In Kogi State, candidates of the State Assembly, House of Representatives and the Senate of different political parties are contesting elections.
In a statement he issued on Tuesday which was made available to journalists, the former lawmaker insisted that the various elections should not be held with Kogi governorship primaries.
Kogi State wouldn’t be participating in the governorship elections scheduled by the Independent National Electoral Commission for March 11 2023, alongside other States.
Saga Gist recalls that other states with staggered elections that will not participate in the gubernatorial election in March 2023 are, Adamawa, Ekiti, Cross River, Bayelsa and Osun.
Those States were affected by the Supreme Court decision on the tenure elongation case in 2012, hence, they all have off-season elections.
The statement said: “The Independent National Electoral Commission is planning to schedule the 2023 governorship elections for November 2023, and as such, is likely or planning to mandate political parties to conduct governorship primary election in Kogi State in February 2023, culminating in the same time with the general elections, where aspirants in Kogi State will be standing for elections.
“This will affect preparation for elections and unnecessarily heat up the polity as those who are indigenous to Kogi prepare for general elections presidential, National Assembly and State Assembly and still prepare for the primary of their off-season elections in February 2023.”
Meanwhile, the Kogi State governorship election was expected to take place in November 2023 as the incumbent, Yahaya Bello’s tenure will end in January 2024.
Citing Section 29 (1) of Electoral Act 2022 (as amended), Karimi said, “political parties are mandated to hold primaries and submit the list of candidates to INEC not later than 180 days before the appointed day for primary (under the 2010 Act, it was 60 days before the election).
“Also, Section 94 of the Electoral Act provides that the campaign shall commence 150 days before polling day and end 24 hours before the election.”