The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed the conduct of six outstanding constituencies’ by-elections in four States for February 26.
The commission announced this in a statement issued by INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee Festus Okoye, on Friday evening in Abuja.
Mr Okoye said that the decision was taken at the INEC regular weekly meeting held on Thursday and an extra-ordinary meeting of Friday, where issues that led to the vacancies and the rescheduling of some of the elections, as well as the security situation in some of the states, were discussed.
He said that the decision followed the declaration of vacancies by the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the speakers of some state Houses of Assembly.
The vacancies according to Mr Okoye are Akure North/Akure South Federal Constituency, Ondo State; Jos North/Bassa Federal Constituency, Plateau and Pankshin South State Constituency, Plateau.
Others are Ogoja/Yala Federal Constituency, Cross River; Akpabuyo State Constituency, Cross River and Ngor-Okpala State Constituency, Imo.
Mr Okoye said that the by-elections would hold on February 26 immediately after the FCT Area Council elections.
“This will enable the commission to clear most of the by-elections, focus on the Ekiti and Osun governorship elections and ongoing preparations for the 2023 general election,” Mr Okoye said.
The national commissioner said that some of the vacancies arose as a result of the death of the previous occupants; substantial disruption of the electoral process and fulfilment of constitutional and legal requirements in the electoral process.
He said that INEC had decided to combine the Ekiti East 1 State Constituency election with the governorship election in Ekiti, which would hold on June 18.
Mr Okoye also said that the commission was consulting with security agencies and the critical stakeholders relating to the vacancy in Shinkafi State Constituency of Zamfara.
He added that the Speaker of the Kaduna State House of Assembly had not declared a vacancy in relation to Giwa State Constituency of Kaduna State.
Mr Okoye said that the official notification for the elections would be published on January 24.
“Political Parties shall conduct their primaries, including resolution of disputes arising from the primaries, between Jan. 26 and Feb. 5,” he said.
He added that the last day for submission of the list of nominated candidates is on February 9 at 6 p.m. and that must be done through the commission’s online nomination portal.
“Political parties shall submit the names of their polling agents for the election to the electoral officer of the local government on or before Feb. 12 and campaigns by political parties shall stop on Feb. 24.
“The access code for the nomination forms shall be available for collection from Feb. 5 at the commission’s headquarters,” he explained.
He advised parties to comply with INEC timelines and the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) in conducting transparent and valid direct or indirect primaries.
He warned that any party that presents a candidate who does not meet the qualifications stipulated in the constitution and the Electoral Act shall be guilty of an offence and on conviction shall be liable to a maximum fine of N500,000.
Mr Okoye said that INEC at the meetings also reviewed its preparations for the area council elections in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) holding on February 12.
He said that INEC was finalising all arrangements for the election.
He appealed to citizens who applied for fresh registration as well as transfers and replacement of the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) to immediately collect them and avoid a last-minute rush for those cards.
He said that PVC for all new registrants as well as requests for transfers and replacement of damaged cards had been printed and were available in all the six area councils of FCT for collection.
Tallen Explains Withdrawal From Senatorial Race
Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, has explained that she never planned to run for the senatorial seat in Plateau State in the coming elections but for the withdrawal of her representative who happens to be a female, Prof Nora Ladi Daduut, who stepped down as a result of threats to life.
She gave the explanation on Monday, during a hybrid event, ‘Partnership for goals: Advancing the gender agenda for sustainable development; A High-Level Convergence by Pathfinder International in partnership with She Forum Africa to deepen awareness and build momentum for gender equality.
According to the minister, the female senator from her senatorial zone has survived three life-threatening attacks and has been receiving constant threats to back out of her race.
She said, “I have a sitting female senator. All I wanted was for her to continue. We have only eight women out of 109, my own senator from my senatorial zone is a woman, she is doing very well, and I’m fully ready to support her.”
While lamenting what she termed as political violence against women, the minister stated that her nomination form was picked for her by a group of women, adding that she had no hand in its procurement.
According to her, “a lot of things were put into consideration. There was an outcry of women from all the 35 states. I don’t want to be selfish but I was fighting for a just cause.
I did not on my own come out to pick the form. Because I have no reason to even say I will contest for the Senate when my senator, who is a female m representing me is already in the Senate. I wanted her to continue.
“But she has been harassed. And so much fear has been put in her. Her life has been threatened three times. She has backed down because she has to live to see her children, her life must continue. That was what led the woman in my constituency to contribute money and pick the form for me. Since I represent the women, I could not let them down. I honoured their request. Mr President was out of the country then and we were time-bound because we had only two or three days to submit the form, that was done.
“But I’m sure you are aware that Mr President called for a meeting on Friday, where we discussed all these issues. At the end of the meeting, it was clear that the matter will be looked into as I’m talking to you now I’m going in for another meeting. The matter will be looked into. I know Mr President is a true father, the national chairman of our party, is also looking into it to ensure fairness.”
Tallen said even though she was not desperate to contest, she wants more seats for women.
She said: “if the Senate seat is being denied of a woman in my state and other states, women should be compensated with two or three more seats in the Federal House, House of Assembly and local government. So it is not about Pauline Tallen but is about women.”
“My own senator, the senator from Rivers State has been denied ticket, the only senator from North-East, who is the best candidate for the Governor in Adamawa is not coming back to the Senate, our sister Remi Tinubu her husband is going for presidential office so she cannot contest. Looking at the number of the remaining four, how are we sure they will return. Our governors are pushing them out because the Senate is becoming retirement ground, it is time for action.”
Speaking on the event, she said gender equality was the fastest way to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, adding that gender equality must start from the home.
Enugu 2023: Ekweremadu Raises Alarm Over Alleged Plot To Arrest Supporters
The Ikeoha Campaign Organisation says it has uncovered plans to frame up, arrest, and detain supporters of the former Deputy President of the Senate and the governorship aspirant in Enugu State, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, ahead of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primary elections in the state
It also alerted the public of plans to unleash cultists on Ekweremadu’s supporters.
The campaign organisation revealed this on Monday in a statement signed by the Director-General, Hon. Charles Ogbo Asogwa, and called on the heads of the security agencies and leadership of the PDP in Enugu State to take note and nip the plots in the bud.
He said: “Credible intelligence has alerted us to sinister plans to plant arms, ammunition, and other implicating items on the property of notable Enugu and PDP chieftains resolutely supporting Senator Ike Ekweremadu’s gubernatorial ambition.
“The aim is to arrest, arraign, and have them consigned to the Correctional Centres (Prisons) to ensure that they are out of circulation until after the primaries and 2023 general elections.
“Nigerians should recall that the Chairman of the PDP in Okpatu Ward, Udi LGA, Paulinus Ugwu (Ayaya), is still detained in the Enugu Correction Centre (Prisons) on trumped up charges and refused bail by the Enugu State Judiciary for many months now. His continued detention is primarily to keep him away from the primaries where he is a statutory delegate.
“Likewise, several of our supporters have been charged to court for baseless offences to weaken our struggle for a New Enugu State”.
The Organisation said it was equally in possession of credible intelligence pointing to plans to use a confraternity group to intimidate and attack his supporters.
“They also plan to unleash a particular confraternity group on Ekweremadu’s supporters to intimidate and muscle them out of their legitimate political convictions and choices.
“It is recalled that during our 6th May 2022 press conference, we projected graphic footages and images of attacks unleashed on our supporters. This was most dastardly and widespread during the 30th April 2022 three-man delegates election and all the incidents dating back to 2021 have been formerly reported to the law enforcement agencies.
“Consequently, we wish to alert the Inspector-General of Police, Director-General of the Department for State Security (DSS), Commandant-General of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, the military service chiefs, the General Officer Commanding 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, and all the security agencies with a view to relating with their relevant commands to ensure that the evil plots do not come to pass.
“Likewise, this is a call on the leadership of the PDP in Enugu State to work with the relevant security agencies and party leaders to ensure that every plot capable of jeopardizing the party’s cohesion and chances in the forthcoming elections is thwarted”, the campaign organisation concluded.
Be Wary Of Court Ruling, Bode George Cautions Lagos PDP
Former National Vice Chairman (South West) of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Bode George, has warned the party against accepting the congress carried out by its former Lagos State chairman, Deji Doherty, saying the court ruling against him may cost the party the elections.
In a press conference at his Ikoyi office on Monday, George said Lagos State High Court had last year ruled against Doherty and reinstated former caretaker chairman of the party in the state, Adegbola Dominic, as the legitimate chairman.
He said, if the party accepts the executive produced at the congress carried out by Doherty, it risks losing the election.
He also urged the PDP to move its national convention which is scheduled to take place on May 28 and 29 from Abuja to Lagos due to the fact that the All Progressives Congress (APC) would also hold theirs at the same venue on 30 and 31.
“It is important to point out that Deji Doherty was removed by a court of competent jurisdiction, therefore any congress he conducts is null and void under the law. It will be better to avoid any of the candidates that emerged from the congress he conducted so that in future, no one will tell you that the election is illegal.
“I want to use this medium to speak on the venue for the convention. APC wants to hold their national convention on May 30 and 31 and we are holding ours on May 28 and 29 in Abuja. How is that possible? People would arrive for the PDP convention two or three days before the day and APC delegates would also arrive a few days before theirs. This could create confusion which would be disastrous for us.
“Because we want to impact positively in the minds of Nigerians that we are better managers without encumbrances, to move our convention from Abuja to Lagos. Which tribe in Nigeria does not reside in Lagos? If you want to fly or come by water or road, you would get here. There are many hotels, from one star to five stars. Holding it in Lagos would completely cut off any plans by the APC to want to scuttle our convention.
“On the issue of zoning, a memo was done and the first paragraph of that communique identified that zoning and rotation remain absolutely sacrosanct in PDP. It remained the cultural and political spinal cord of our party. In other words, people should not think that we have forgotten zoning. It remains very important in our party.
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