NIGERIA’S Independent National Electoral Commission (Inec) has announced that it has scheduled the Anambra State governorship elections for November 6 2021 sparking off a certain flurry of political activity.
Governor Willie Obiano of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (Apga) has already served two terms, so is not eligible to stand. With the field wide open, the race to become governor will be a three-way fight between Apga, the Peoples Democratic Party and President Muhammadu Buhari’s All Progressives Congress.
Festus Okoye, Inec’s national commissioner and the chairman of its information and voter education committee, outlined the programme after a recent meeting in Abuja. He pointed out that the meeting deliberated on a wide range of issues, including the issuance of the timetable and schedule of activities for the conduct of the Anambra State governorship election.
Mr Okoye said: “By virtue of Section 178(1) and (2) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and Section 25(7) and (8) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended), election into the office of a State Governor shall hold not earlier than 150 days and not later than 30 days before the expiration of the term of office of the last holder of the office.
“Constitutionally and statutorily, the tenure of the governor of Anambra State will expire on March 17 2021 and the earliest date for the election into the office of Governor, Anambra State, shall be October 18 2021 and the latest date for the election shall be February 15, 2022. In the exercise of the powers conferred on it by the constitution, the Electoral Act, and all other powers enabling it in that regard, the commission has fixed November 6 2021 as the date for the conduct of the Anambra State Governorship election.
“Consequently, the commission hereby issues the timetable and schedule of activities for the election. By the timetable and schedule of activities, the commission will issue the statutory Notice for election June 9 2021. The collection of Forms EC9 (formerly CF001) and EC9B (formerly CF002) for the election will take place on June 10 2021 and the conduct of party primaries and resolution of disputes arising from the primaries will take place on June 10 – July 1 2021.
“The personal particulars of the candidates will be published on July 16 2021 and the parties will commence campaigns on August 8 2021. The final list of nominated candidates will be published on October 7 2021.
“The commission enjoins all the registered political parties to pay close attention to the timelines and schedule of activities outlined in the timetable and schedule of activities as they are constitutional and statutorily provisions. We also enjoin political parties to conduct rancour-free primaries, guarantee level playing field for all aspirants and conduct necessary due diligence on all forms and documents that will be submitted to the commission.
“The commission is concerned about the spate of acrimonious primaries as well as the nomination of unqualified candidates, which results in avoidable litigations and the nullification of elections by Election Petition Tribunals. We urge all the stakeholders to support the commission’s efforts to strengthen the electoral process, including the deployment of technology to deliver free, fair, and credible elections.”