November 28, 2020

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INEC announces new date for six senatorial bye-elections, others

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed December 5 for the 15 pending state and national assembly bye-elections in 11 states.

The commission had suspended polls scheduled to hold in October following the violence in many parts of the country, resulting from the #EndSARS protest against police brutality.

In the past one month, PREMIUM TIMES reported how the peaceful protests, which were attended by thousands of young Nigerians, was hijacked by hoodlums leading to widespread violence and looting and destruction of public and private properties.

Six of the bye-elections are to fill senatorial seats that became vacant due to the death of their former occupants and the election of Duoye Diri, who represented Bayelsa Central, as Bayelsa State governor.

The senatorial bye-elections are to be conducted in Bayelsa Central, Bayelsa West, Cross River North, Imo North, Lagos East and Plateau South senatorial districts.

While announcing a new date for the polls, a spokesperson to the commission, Festus Okoye, via a statement on Friday, said the new date was fixed following consultation between INEC and critical stakeholders in the electoral process.

Mr Okoye said based on the engagement with the stakeholders, the “commission believes that security in the affected states has improved while the environmental challenges have reasonably abated.

“Consequently, the commission has decided to hold all the pending bye-elections on Saturday, December 5, 2020”, he added.

“It noted among other things, the extensive damage to and vandalisation of its local government offices and facilities, which affected some areas where the bye-elections are scheduled to hold.

“Consequently, the commission decided to consult critical stakeholders in the electoral process before deciding on a definite date for the conduct of the bye-elections.

“The commission consulted with political parties and civil society organisations on Tuesday 10th November 2020 and with the media and the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security on Wednesday 11th November 2020. Finally, it met with all Resident Electoral Commissioners on Thursday, 12th November 2020.”

INEC also called on voters and other stakeholders in the states with pending bye-elections to continue to cooperate with the commission in its efforts to deliver credible elections under a safe environment.

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