Bye-elections: INEC raises alarm over plans to disrupt process

THE Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Mahmood Yakubu, has raised the alarm over alleged plans to disrupt the re-run and bye-elections slated for February 3 in various parts of Nigeria.

Yakubu raised the alarm on Tuesday, January 23, in Abuja at the first quarterly meeting of the Interagency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES).

According to him, the conduct of isolated elections, such as bye-elections and re-run elections, poses significant challenges, noting that it’s essential to be vigilant about the disruptive behaviours that might emanate from certain candidates and their supporters.

Yakubu said, “Arising from the reports we received from the states, concerns have been raised about the impact of the prevailing insecurity in some states on the conduct of the elections, made worse by incendiary statements by some political actors.”

According to the INEC boss, the elections initially affected 35 national and state constituencies, stressing that four additional orders of the Court of Appeal were served on the commission in respect of Yabo/Shagari Federal Constituency of Sokoto State, Madara/Chinade State Constituency of Bauchi State, and Kudan and Kauru/Chawai State Constituencies of Kaduna State.

    “This brings the total number of affected constituencies to 39, which translates to 2.6 per cent of the 1,491 constituencies for which elections were conducted nationwide in the 2023 general election,” Yakubu said.

    He further highlighted the crucial role of security agencies in ensuring a secure environment for deploying personnel and materials and safeguarding all election stakeholders, including the media.

    He also said that the commission had released the timetable and schedule of activities for the two off-cycle governorship elections in Edo State, scheduled for September 21, 2024, and Ondo State, to be held on 16th November 2024.

    He noted that party primaries and nominations of candidates shall be done not later than 180 days before the date fixed for the elections as required by the Electoral Act 2022.

    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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