Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has revealed that it would conduct four bye-elections in the next 30 days.
INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, who made the disclosure during the regular meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners (REC) from all the 36 states and the FCT, said that the time-table and schedule of activities for the bye-elections would be released, on Friday.
According to him, the bye-elections are: the National Assembly elections in respect of Bauchi South Senatorial district, Katsina North senatorial district and the Lokoja/Koton Karfe Federal constituency in Kogi State.
He said that the fourth one is a state Assembly in respect of Obudu I state constituency, adding that the seats were declared vacant by the National Assembly and State Assembly.
“The Commission is set to conduct bye-elections to fill the vacancies in the four constituencies which have a total of over two million registered voters spread across 3,355 polling units in 234 wards and 22 Local Government Areas.
“Consultations with stakeholders in the affected states are ongoing. Considering the requirement of the law that such elections shall be conducted by the commission within 30 days following the declaration of vacancy, we are planning to conduct all the four elections on the same date.
“The detailed timetable and scheduled of activities will be released on Friday this week,” he added.
The bye-elections, Prof Yakubu noted, would also serve as a test ground for the various innovations and improvement made on the process towards the Osun governorship poll scheduled for Saturday, September 22, 2018.
“These bye-elections will offer the Commission yet another opportunity to fine-tune our processes and procedures in preparation for the Osun state governorship election and ultimately the 2019 general elections,” he stressed.
He, therefore, assured Nigerians that the commission will continue to improve the quality of elections in the country.
The Commission further disclosed that the meeting reviewed the conduct of the July 14 Governorship Election in Ekiti State and preparations for the Osun Governorship poll.
It noted that the satisfactory conduct of the Ekiti governorship election as attested to by both domestic and international Observers, the Media and other Stakeholders.
“The meeting also noted with deep concern, the rising phenomenon of vote buying during elections and restated its commitment and determination to continue to work with all stakeholders, especially the security agencies, to stem the ugly trend.
“On the upcoming Osun Governorship Election, the meeting unanimously agreed to further improve on the successes recorded in the Ekiti Governorship Election
“It also reviewed the ongoing nationwide CVR exercise. Against the backdrop of the decision to suspend the exercise from August 17, 2018 until after the 2019 general elections, and resolved the following:
“That starting from Wednesday August 1, 2018: the CVR exercise will take place between 9am and 5pm instead of 9am-3pm as obtains presently);
“There will also be Registration on Saturdays and Sundays as well as public holidays (if any) within the period. The exercise will be suspended at 5pm on Friday August 17 until after the 2019 General Elections,” the statement from the Chief Press Secretary to Hon Chairman, Rotimi Lawrence Oyekanmi, read.