Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim, a former presidential aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has said that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and partisan politics may ruin the 2023 election if care is not taken.
In a statement from his media office in Abuja on Saturday, he accused INEC of imposing a tight schedule of primaries on parties in the country, alleging that the schedule had been influenced by some political elites that will benefit from it.
“The current tough guy grandstanding of the INEC chief must give way to reason so as not to endanger the entire process,” he said.
He added that the confusion as to who is qualified to be a delegate has robbed the process of clarity while INEC has insisted the primaries schedule cannot be changed.
The former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) member said INEC does not have any business fixing dates of primaries, explaining that they should only ensure that they are held 180 days before the election as stipulated by law.
“Whose interest is this INEC serving, the public or unknown interests desirous of fostering on Nigerians a flawed electoral process with far reaching consequences for the nation?” he asked.
While taking due notice of new sundry regulatory powers granted to INEC which he said seek to make political parties parastatals of the electoral umpire, Olawepo-Hashim insisted that he had expected the parties to be in court over INEC’s meddlesomeness in their internal affairs.
He said the extension demanded by parties would give the executive, legislature and party leaderships the opportunity to clean the mess in the Electoral Act and not the current plot by different groups to outsmart each other.