Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has scheduled the Edo and Ondo States governorship elections for Saturday, September 19 and October 10, respectively.
Briefing reporters in Abuja on Thursday, the Chairman of the Commission, Mahmood Yakubu, promised to publish the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the two governorship elections on the Commission’s website and social media platforms shortly.
According to him: “The tenure of the governors of Edo and Ondo States will end on November 12, 2020, and February 24, 2021, respectively.
“Pursuant to the provisions of Section 178(2) of the 1999 Constitution and Section 25(8) of the Electoral Act 2010, elections cannot hold earlier than 150 days and not later than 30 days before the expiration of the term of office of an incumbent Governor.
“Accordingly, the Commission has fixed Saturday, September 19, 2020, as the date for the governorship election in Edo State and Saturday, October 10, 2020, for Ondo State. Detailed Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the two elections will be published on our website and social media platforms shortly,” he noted.
Speaking further, he said: “Similarly, the Commission is conducting bye-elections in three constituencies as a result of the deaths of some serving members of the National and State Assemblies.
“The Honourable Speaker of the House of Representatives has declared a vacancy in Magama/Rijau Federal Constituency of Niger State. Similarly, the Honourable Speaker of the Kwara State House of Assembly has declared a vacancy in Patigi State Constituency while the Speaker of the Sokoto State House of Assembly has declared the Kebbe State Constituency vacant.
“These by-elections will hold simultaneously in the three states of the Federation on Saturday, March 14, 2020. Again, the detailed Timetable and Schedule of Activities will be published on our website and social media platforms shortly.
“On this note, let me reiterate the resolve the Commission to stand firm against acts capable of disrupting the elections. As we are all aware, the election is a process.
“However, the process does not begin and end with Election Day activities. The conduct of party primaries, the nomination of candidates, electioneering campaigns and the submission of the list of polling agents are also essential to the electoral process. Above all, good behaviour by all officials and actors involved is crucial for success.
“I wish to remind all parties and candidates that violence during party primaries and electioneering campaigns, the snatching of election materials or the deployment of thugs against INEC officials, observers, the media and unarmed security personnel at polling units are acts punishable under our electoral laws.
“Already, the political atmosphere in a particular State is charged. No one should regard the release of the Timetable for the elections as a signal to further escalate tension or a call to commence the recruitment of goons and arming of thugs and hoodlums,” he warned.