The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced that the 15 pending bye-elections in 11 states across the country would be held on December 5, saying plans had been put in place to achieve free and fair electoral process.
The electoral body explained that the bye-elections earlier scheduled to hold on October 31, 2020, was rescheduled after careful considerations of the security situation and other environmental challenges bedeviling the country.
INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Barr. Festus Okoye, said that the decision was also reached after today’s quarterly engagements and consultations with critical stakeholders in the electoral process.
Through a statement released to newsmen on Friday, Okoye mainatined that all stakeholders have been met and things have been put in proper perspective for safe environment that would allow free, fair and credible election.
“The Commission met again on Thursday, 5th November 2020 and reviewed the situation. It noted among other things the extensive damage to and vandalization of its local government offices and facilities, which affected some areas where the bye-elections are scheduled to hold. Consequently, the commission decided to consult critical stakeholders in the electoral process before deciding on a definite date for the conduct of the bye-elections.
“The Commission consulted with political parties and Civil Society Organizations on Tuesday 10th November 2020 and with the Media and the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) on Wednesday 11th November 2020. Finally, it met with all Resident Electoral Commissioners on Thursday, 12th November 2020.
“Based on these consultations, the commission believes that security in the affected states has improved while the environmental challenges have reasonably abated. Consequently, the commission has decided to hold all the pending bye-elections on Saturday December 5, 2020.
“The commission acknowledges the support, understanding and cooperation of political parties, the security agencies, the media civil society organizations and the general public as it considers the scheduling of the bye-elections and in its overall efforts to reposition the electoral process and give meaning and value to the votes of the people.
“We appeal to voters and stakeholders in the States with pending bye-elections to continue to cooperate with the Commission in its efforts to deliver credible elections under a safe environment,” the statement.