INEC Mulls Rerun, Bye-elections for February

Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC),has said it was contemplating conducting rerun polls and bye-elections in the first week of February, 2024.

Chairman of the commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this yesterday in Abuja at an extraordinary consultative meeting with political parties.

He said the purpose of the meeting was to brief party leaders on the commission’s preparation for the forthcoming elections to be held early in the new year, adding that the elections were in two categories.

“First, as the Election Petition Appeal Tribunals set up in the aftermath of the 2023 general election gradually wind up their proceedings, the Commission is required to conduct re-run elections in some constituencies by court order,” he said.

Secondly, the chairman noted that the commission was also required to conduct bye-elections to fill vacancies arising from the death or resignation of members of the National and State Houses of Assembly.

He explained that the commission intended to combine and conduct the two categories of elections on the same day, details of which would be discussed at the meeting.

Mahmood stated: “As you are aware, re-run elections only involve the parties and candidates that participated in the general election unless a party wishes to replace a deceased candidate.

“However, bye-elections are fresh elections. Consequently, political parties must conduct fresh primaries within the limited period of time provided by law.

“So far, the Election Petition Appeal Tribunals have ordered the Commission to conduct re-run elections in 34 constituencies made up of one Senatorial District, 11 Federal Constituencies and 22 State Assembly constituencies.

“However, the 34 constituencies constitute 2.8 per cent of the 1,191 petitions filed by litigants. Significantly, out of the 34 re-run elections, it is only in three cases that the Commission was ordered to conduct elections in the entire constituencies. In the other 31 constituencies, elections are to be held in a few polling units,” he said.

The chairman said at the end of all the litigations, including the governorship elections pending on appeal at the Supreme Court, the Commission would present a comprehensive analysis of the petitions, including cases where the Commission was ordered to issue Certificates of Return to other candidates and the reasons for the decisions by the Courts as part of the lessons learned from the 2023 general election for the consequential reforms to improve the conduct of future elections.

Mahmood added: “The Commission is looking at the first week of February 2024 i.e. in just a little over one month to conduct both the re-run and bye-elections.

“At the end of this consultative meeting, the Commission will meet to review preparations and announce a definite date, including the detailed Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the elections.

“Full delimitation details, including locations, number of Polling Units, registered voters and Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) collected in each constituency will be uploaded to our website for public information.”

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