The Kogi West Senatorial Candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Sunday Karimi has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to shift the Kogi State governorship primary scheduled for February next year to a later date.
Karimi in a statement noted that the Kogi Guber primary should not be scheduled in the same month when the presidential, National Assembly, State Assembly elections will hold.
The governorship elections scheduled by INEC for March 11 2023, exclude Kogi, Adamawa, Ekiti, Cross Rivers and Bayelsa states, which have experienced off-season or off-circle elections since the Supreme Court decision on the tenure elongation case in 2012.
Since then, the governorship election in Kogi State has been in November of the election year. In 2019, the governorship election in the state was held in November 2019.
The forthcoming governorship election in Kogi State is scheduled for November 2023, since the tenure of the incumbent governor would end in January 2024.
Karimi said that under section 29 (1) of Electoral Act 2022 (as amended), 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.
Karimi 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.”