COVID-19: INEC postpones four senatorial by-elections

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has postponed the conduct of 4 senatorial by-elections indefinitely because of the Coronavirus pandemic.

The fee disclosed this in an announcement issued by Mr Festus Okoye,INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, on Thursday in Abuja.

Okoye mentioned the by-election, which included Bayelsa Central and Bayelsa West Senatorial Districts, Imo North Senatorial District and Plateau South Senatorial District, have been postponed till the state of affairs normalised.

He recalled that INEC obtained notification of vacancies for the Bayelsa Central and Bayelsa West Senatorial Districts following the swearing into workplace of Sen. Diri Duoye and Sen. Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo as Governor and Deputy Governor of Bayelsa respectively.

He additionally recalled that the Commission additionally obtained the discover of vacancies for the Imo North Senatorial District following the loss of life of Sen. Benjamin Uwajumogu and for Plateau South Senatorial District following the loss of life of Sen. Longjan Datong.

“Arising from the declaration of vacancies by the President of the Senate, the fee commenced preparations for the conduct of by-elections to fill these vacancies.

“However, given the well being emergency occasioned by the Coronavirus pandemic and the preventive measures put in place by the well being authorities, federal and state governments, the fee has determined to postpone the 4 senatorial by-elections till the state of affairs normalises.

“This is consistent with Section 26 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), which empowers the fee to postpone any election within the occasion of any emergency or pure catastrophe.

“The Commission is compelled to take this step in recognition of the fact that all major activities in the electoral process involve large gathering of people.

“These include the conduct of political party primaries, campaigns, stakeholder meetings, training and deployment of election and security personnel, movement of accredited observers and journalists, congregation of voters and other stakeholders at polling units, as well as the collation centres,” he mentioned.

Okoye mentioned whereas INEC acknowledged the correct and need of residents for efficient illustration, there was an over-riding public curiosity in making certain the well being, security and well-being of all stakeholders.

He added that the timetable and schedule of actions for the postponed by-elections could be issued as quickly because the Coronavirus pandemic was contained.

Okoye, nevertheless, mentioned that the governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states scheduled for September and October respectively weren’t affected by the postponement.

“We appeal for understanding and cooperation of all,” he added.

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