The bye-elections scheduled for six senatorial and nine house of assembly seats on October 31 have been postponed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The electoral body announced the postponement in a statement by its National Commissioner and Chairman of Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye.
INEC had scheduled the bye-elections in 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, 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 the postponement was in compliance with Section 26 (2) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), which empowers the commission to suspend an election over possibility of serious breach of peace on a scheduled date.
INEC’s decision may, however, not be unconnected with the recent #EndSARS protests and reports of violence in parts of the country.
The commission will monitor the situation across the states where the elections were scheduled to hold and consult with relevant stakeholders before meeting in two weeks’ time to fix a new date for the elections, said Okoye.
The statement reads: “The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) met today, 22nd October 2020 with the 37 Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) to review preparations for the 15 bye-elections in 11 States of the Federation scheduled to hold on 31st October 2020.
“On Wednesday 21st October 2020, the Commission notified the nation that having taken cognizance of the current security situation in parts of the country, a meeting with the 37 RECs will be held to evaluate the situation in the States and Constituencies where bye-elections have been scheduled.
“Accordingly, the Commission has decided to postpone the bye-elections in the 6 Senatorial Districts and 9 State Constituencies.
“This decision is in compliance with Section 26 (2) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), which gives the Commission the power to postpone an election if there is reason to believe that a serious breach of the peace is likely to occur if the election is proceeded with on that date, or that it is impossible to conduct the elections as a result of natural disasters or other emergencies.
“The Commission will continue to monitor the situation in all the States and Constituencies, consult with relevant Stakeholders and meet again in two weeks to review the situation and decide on a feasible date for the elections.
“The Commission appeals for calm and understanding of the stakeholders and voters in the States where elections were scheduled. The safety of the voters, election officials and other stakeholders is paramount to the Commission in conducting elections.
“We are convinced that the country will emerge from the current challenges stronger while our electoral process will continue to improve,” said the electoral body.
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