Arising from vacancies in 12 constituencies across 8 states in both federal and state legislative houses, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has scheduled all the pending bye-elections for Saturday 31st October 2020.
National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Barrister Festus Okoye, who stated this on Tuesday in a statement listed the vacancies as Bayelsa Central Senatorial District, Bayelsa West Senatorial District, Nganzai State Constituency, Borno State, Bayo State Constituency, Borno State, Cross River North Senatorial District and Obudu State Constituency, Cross River State.
Others are Imo North Senatorial District, Lagos East Senatorial District, Kosofe II State Constituency, Lagos State, Plateau South Senatorial District, Bakura State Constituency, Zamfara State and Ibaji State Constituency, Kogi State.
According to INEC, the commission said “these vacancies were as a result of resignation or death of members”, adding that it “decided earlier to suspend the conduct of all bye-elections during to COVID-19 pandemic until it is satisfied that the elections can be conducted in a safe and conducive environment.”
Okoye stated that with the commission’s policy on conducting elections in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, it revised the regulations and guidelines to guarantee both credibility and public safety.
According to the commission, “By the harmonised timetable, the Commission will give the notice of election on 17th August 2020 while political parties will conduct their primaries to nominate candidates between 24th August and 8th September 2020.
The statement said submission of forms and personal particulars of candidates will commence on September 9 and close at 6pm on September 13, 2020, adding that the timetable and schedule of activities for the bye-elections has been uploaded on the commission’s website and social media platforms.
The commission further noted that its attention was also drawn to the existence of two other vacancies in state constituencies namely Isi-Uzo State Constituency in Enugu State and Bakori State Constituency in Katsina State.
It however added that vacancies were yet to be formally declared by the Speakers of the affected state assemblies.
The Commission therefore implored concerned stakeholders, particularly political parties to take note of the timelines in the schedule and strictly adhere to them.