By Chuks Okocha in Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced dates for the governorship elections in Edo and Ondo States.
According to the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, 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.
He further said that the timetable and schedule of activities for the two elections will be published on its website and social media platforms soon.
Yakubu said that the tenure of the governors of Edo and Ondo States will end on November 12, 2020 and February 24, 2021 respectively and 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.
Similarly, he said that 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.
According to him, “The Speaker of the House of Representatives has declared 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 bye-elections will hold simultaneously in the three states of the Federation on Saturday 14th March 2020.”
He also maintained the resolve of the commission to stand firm against acts capable of disrupting the elections, saying: “As we are all aware, election is a process. However, the process does not begin and end with election day activities.
“The conduct of party primaries, nomination of candidates, electioneering 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, 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.”
Yakubu said that the political atmosphere in a particular state is already charged but warned: “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.”