By Emmanuel Oloniruha
Abuja, Aug. 11, 2020 The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it has fixed Oct. 31 for the conduct of the 12 pending constituencies by-elections in the country.
The commission disclosed this in a statement by Mr Festus Okoye, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, in Abuja on Tuesday.
He said that the commission would have long conducted the by-elections but for the current COVID-19 pandemic.
“Since then, the commission has developed a policy on the conduct of elections in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It also revised its regulations and guidelines and engaged with health authorities and stakeholders on conducting elections in an environment that guarantees both credibility and public safety.
“The commission has also successfully conducted the bye-election to fill the vacancy in the Nasarawa Central State Constituency and is going ahead with the conduct of governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states on the 19th Sept. 19 and Oct. 10, respectively,” he said.
The pending by-elections are Bayelsa Central Senatorial District; Bayelsa West Senatorial District; Nganzai and Bayo Constituencies in Borno State; Cross River North Senatorial District; Obudu Constituency in Cross River.
Others are Imo North Senatorial District; Lagos East Senatorial District; Kosofe II Constituency in Lagos State; Plateau South Senatorial District; Bakura Constituency in Zamfara; and Ibaji Constituency in Kogi.
Okoye said that the decision was taken after reviewing preparations for Edo and Ondo states’ governorship elections as well as all outstanding by-elections.
Okoye said that the by-elections in the federal and state legislative houses were due to resignation or death of members in eight states of the federation.
“By the harmonized timetable, the commission will give the notice of election on Aug. 17 while political parties will conduct their primaries to nominate candidates between Aug. 24 and Sept. 8.
“Submission of forms and personal particulars of candidates will commence on Sept. 9 and close at 6p.m. on Sept. 13,” he said.
Okoye added that the timetable and schedule of activities for the by-elections had been uploaded on the commission’s website and social media platforms.
He added that INEC’s attention had also been drawn to the existence of vacancies in Isi-Uzo Constituency in Enugu State and Bakori Constituency in Katsina State.
He, however, said vacancies had not been formally declared by the Speakers of the affected state assemblies.
He implored concerned stakeholders, particularly political parties, to take note of the timelines in the schedule and strictly adhere to them.
By Emmanuel Oloniruha