THE possibility of the All Progressives Congress (APC) not fielding candidates in the 2019 general elections in Zamfara State may have been sealed.
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman Prof. Mahmood Yakubu said yesterday that the commission’s stance on the issue has not changed.
INEC had barred the APC chapter from fielding candidates in the elections after allegedly failing to conduct primary elections.
The commission had set October 7, 2018 deadline for parties to conclude their primary elections. But divisions within the APC state chapter prevented an INEC-supervised election from taking place for the governorship and legislative positions.
Consequently, a letter signed by INEC’s Acting Secretary, Okechukwu Ndeche, and addressed to APC’s National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, stated that the party could no longer conduct any primary elections outside of the originally-stated window.
It added that the state APC would not be allowed to participate in the governorship, National Assembly and State Assembly elections in Zamfara next year.
But the party would not want to hear any of this, vowing to participate in the election.
But, the INEC boss yesterday stuck to his gun, saying that the commission has not changed its earlier decision on the issue.
Yakubu spoke yesterday in Abuja at the end of the opening of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Network of Electoral Commission (ECONEC) meeting in Abuja.
The INEC boss, who was responding to questions from reporters, said: “We have issued a statement on Zamfara and nothing has changed. We stand by the statement that we issued.”
He noted that the October 18 date for the submission of list of candidates by the political parties is sacrosanct.
There are 91 parties. But only 89 notified the commission of their intension to conduct primaries.
Yakubu said: “I am sure we have made some progress, but the deadline as we say is on October 18.”
He ruled out any possibility of extension as he declared, “we will give a full report after the October 18. No extension”.
On Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs), Yakubu said INEC had printed the PVCs of those who registered in the first, second and third quarters of the year.
“We are looking at the end of November 2018 for all the PVCs to be printed, including request for transfer and relocation.”
He reiterated the commission’s assurance to ensure that outstanding PVCs are ready for collection before the 2019 general elections.
Yakubu said the two-day meeting, which kicked off yesterday, is expected to validate the study carried out on the issue of cost of conducting elections.