The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it had begun to wind down activities on the submission and withdrawal of candidates for the 2019 general polls saying it would not tolerate any breach of the timelines provided for in the timetable for the elections.
The warning is coming at the heel of the closing date for the substitution of candidates for the governorship, states Assembly and council polls as political parties have till midnight 1st December 2018 for any substitution or withdrawal of candidates ahead of the 2nd March, 2019 states elections.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu disclosed this saying the commission has religiously followed the timelines and has so far executed seven of its fourteen scheduled activities.
“We did not, and will never, tolerate any breach of the strict timelines provided for in the timetable for the elections,” he said.
“You would recall that on 9th January 2018, the Commission released the timetable and schedule of activities for the 2019 General Elections. For the first time in our history, the date for General Election was announced over a year in advance.
“More specifically, the timetable lists fourteen (14) step-by-step constitutional and other legal and other statutory activities required of the Commission ahead of the elections beginning with the formal Publication of Notice and ending with the election day.
“So far, INEC has successfully implemented seven (7) out of the fourteen (14) activities strictly on schedule, including the conduct of party primaries for all elections and the processes of nomination of candidates.”
He also accused some political parties of submitting underage candidates for the presidential election, thereby running foul of the electoral law.
This is as the commission confirmed that at the end of the period for the substitution and withdrawal of candidates for the Presidential election, a total of seventy-three (73) political parties have now filed their nominations.
The not too young to run law set the thirty-five age for the president and Vice President.
The bill was passed by the National Assembly last year to alter Sections 65, 106, 131, 177 of the constitution. It was to reduce the age qualification for president from 40 to 30; governor from 35 to 30; senator from 35 to 30; House of Representatives membership from 30 to 25 and State House of Assembly membership from 30 to 25.
The commission however noted that the attention of the parties concerned have been drawn to the breach of the constitutional requirement.
“A few parties have nominated candidates below the mandatory age of thirty-five (35) years for as Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates. We have drawn the attention of the parties concerned to the breach of the constitutional requirement ahead of the publication of the full list of presidential and vice presidential candidates for the 2019 General Elections.”
On the number of political parties that fileded their nominations for the presidential election, “At the end of the period for the substitution and withdrawal of candidates for the Presidential election, a total of seventy-three (73) political parties have now filed their nominations.
For National Assembly elections, he said a total of 1,848 candidates are vying for the 109 senatorial seats, while 4,635 candidates for the House of Representatives.
The breakdown shows that 1,615 male and 233 female are contesting for the senatorial seats while 4,066 male and 569 female are competing for the 360 seats in the House of Representatives.
As for State elections, a total of 1,068 candidates are contesting for 29 governorship positions, while work is still going on for the 991 States Assembly as well as the 68 Area Council chairmen and counsellors for the Federal Capital Territory.
The breakdown for the governorship list shows 980 male and 88 female are contesting for 29 Governorship positions with 805 male and 263 female Deputy Governorship candidates.