IPAC’s demand for shift in 2023 election timetable retrogressive, CTA backs INEC

The Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA) has expressed surprise over the request to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for a shift in the 2023 election timetable by the Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC), describing the move as retrogressive.

While expressing support for INEC, the election monitoring body, however, called on the political parties to heed to the guidelines under the electoral act and the same level of commitment towards a credible poll.

Speaking at a meeting with the the INEC’s leadership recently, IPAC chairman, Engr. Sani Yabagi, had requested the INEC to consider a slight adjustment to the recently announced timetable and schedule of activities for the 2023 general elections.

But in a statement released Monday in Abuja by the Executive Director of CTA Faith Nwadishi, said the call was “not only a distraction to INEC but a calculated attempt to clog the wheel of progress and the incremental successes recorded by INEC in recent times.”

According to Nwadishi, Nigerians are relying on INEC to institutionalize credible electoral process that will lead us as a progressive society.

“It is the view of CTA that IPAC should rather explore positively the recognized bond between it and the EMB rather than exploiting the goodwill extended by INEC and the Nigerian people to selfish ends.

“To deepen its request IPAC further said, “In summary, the General Assembly of IPAC, after an exhaustive examination of the INEC timetable and related issues, arrived at a unanimous decision to request for an extension of thirty-seven (37) days to the deadline of the time frame for the conduct of party primaries and resolution of conflicts arising from the primaries. By implication, the IPAC leadership is appealing to the INEC to extend the deadline for the conduct of party primaries and resolution of ensuing conflicts from the present INEC given date of 3rd June 2022 to the 4th of August 2022.” CTA restates that this call is uncalled for, diversionary and not in the interest of our democracy.

“CTA and other well-meaning Nigerians are gratified by the response of INEC through its Chairman Professor Mahmud Yakubu who in clear terms refused to accede to the toxic request by IPAC.

“CTA share in the views expressed by the INEC Chairman in turning down the request that any review to extend the timeline for one activity will affect other activities and put unnecessary pressure on political parties and the Commission.

“Equally, CTA is pleased with some of the bold steps already taken by the EMB towards achieving a credible electoral process leading to transparent, free, fair, and peaceful election.

“We hope campaigns by political actors remain issue-based and expect politicians and their supporters to refrain from making comments capable of overheating the already tensed political environment.

“It is also our hope that political parties take time to study the Electoral Act 2022 and abreast themselves with the provisions under the new Act.

“Nigerians should recall that INEC had since February 26th released the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2023 General Election. To this regard, CTA wishes to advise the political parties to re-position itself bearing in mind the realities of today.”

The CTA also welcomed the level of preparedness by INEC ahead of the Ekiti governorship election and indeed other elections that will follow the Ekiti election.