Ahead of 2023 general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has scheduled six bye-elections in Ondo, Imo, Plateau, Cross Rivers for Saturday, February 26, 2022.
It explained that the date had been approved after declaration of vacancies in six constituencies by the Honourable Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Honourable Speakers of some State Houses of Assembly.
The INEC National Commissioner, Information and Voter Education Committee, Barr. Festus Okoye, said that the elections will hold in Akure North/Akure South Federal Constituency, Ondo State ; Jos North/Bassa Federal Constituency, Plateau State.
Others, he said, are Pankshin South State Constituency, Plateau State; Ogoja/Yala Federal Constituency, Cross River State; Akpabuyo State Constituency, Cross River State; Ngor-Okpala State Constituency, Imo State.
Through a statement on Friday, Okoye said that the elections will hold on Saturday 26th February 2022 immediately after the FCT Area Council elections, adding that the exercise would enable the commission to clear most of the bye-elections, focus on the Ekiti and Osun Governorship elections and ongoing preparations for the 2023 general election.
According to him, some of the vacancies arose as a result of the death of the previous occupants; substantial disruption of the electoral process and fulfillment of constitutional and legal requirements in the electoral process.
“The commission considered the issues that led to the vacancies and the rescheduling of some of the elections as well as the security situation in some of the States. The Commission decided to combine the Ekiti East 1 State Constituency election with the Governorship election in Ekiti, which will hold on 18th June 2022.
“The commission is consulting with security agencies and the critical stakeholders relating to the vacancy in Shinkafi State Constituency of Zamfara State while the Speaker of the Kaduna State House of Assembly has not declared a vacancy in relation to Giwa State Constituency of Kaduna State,” the statement said.
Okoye added that “political parties that present to the Commission the name of a candidate who does not meet the qualifications stipulated in the Constitution and the Electoral Act shall be guilty of an offence and on conviction shall be liable to a maximum fine of N500,000.00”.
He also disclosed that the Commission was finalizing all arrangements for the conduct of the Area Council election in the Federal Capital Territory FCT.
“Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) for all new registrants as well as requests for transfers and replacement of damaged cards have been printed and are available in all the six Area Councils for collection. The Commission appeals to citizens who applied for fresh registration as well as transfers and replacement of the PVCs to do so immediately and avoid last minute rush for these cards, as has been the case in the past”, Okoye said.