By Emmanuel Oloniruha
Abuja, Oct. 22, 2020
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has postponed indefinitely, the outstanding 15 bye-elections earlier scheduled to hold on Oct 31.
The commission made the disclosure in a statement issued by its National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr Festus Okoye, in Abuja after INEC’s meeting held on Thursday.
He cited the security situation in the country, following the EndSARS protests going on in some parts of the country, adding that the commission would meet in the next two weeks to review the situation for a possible date for the bye-elections.
Okoye said that INEC met with the 37 Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) to review preparations for the 15 bye-elections in 11 states of the federation.
Okoye said that accordingly, the commission had decided to postpone the bye-elections in the six Senatorial Districts and nine State constituencies.
“This decision is in compliance with Section 26 (2) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).
“The section 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,” he said.
Okoye appealed for calm and understanding of the stakeholders and voters in the States where elections were scheduled.
He said that the safety of the voters, election officials and other stakeholders was 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,” he said.