INEC TO RESUME ELECTION PROCESS
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has released a timeline for the governorship and state house of assembly elections in Rivers State and other unconcluded states.
INEC’s National Commissioner in charge of Information and Voter Education, Mr Festus Okoye, announced this during a press conference on Thursday at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.
He revealed that INEC would deploy national commissioners in various states where supplementary election would take place, to monitor the process and present certificates of return to the winners.
On the elections in Bauchi, Okoye noted that an interlocutory injunction had been served on the electoral body.
He, however, said the supplementary election would go on in the state, apart from Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area (LGA) which was the subject of litigation before the court.
He added that the exercise would hold in two state constituencies in Adamawa State, north-west Nigeria.
The INEC official informed reporters that the winners of the governorship election in various states announced so far would be presented with their certificates of return between March 27 and 29.
He said INEC would announce the names of supervising national commissioners to issue the certificates before Wednesday next week.
Okoye encouraged voters to turn up for the supplementary election which has been scheduled to take place on March 23.
INEC had suspended all electoral processes in Rivers on March 10, following reports of widespread disruption of elections in the state.
Read The Full Text Below:
Following the issuance of the Time Table and Schedule of Activities for the 2019 General Elections in January last year, the Commission successfully undertook all planned activities, culminating in the conduct of all but a few of the 1, 558 offices and legislative seats.
Certificates of Return have been given to the President-elect, Vice-President Elect and members-elect of the National Assembly.
PRESENTATION OF CERTIFICATES OF RETURN TO GOVERNORS-ELECT
Certificates of Return in respect of Governors-elect shall be presented by supervising National Commissioners of the respective states between Wednesday 27th and Friday 29th March 2019. They will be assisted by Resident Electoral Commissioners and Legal Officers of the Commission.
The precise date for the presentation in each state shall be made known by the respective Resident Electoral Commissioners after consultation with the supervising National Commissioners
For the State Houses of Assembly, the date of presentation of Certificates of Return to the respective winners will be announced in due course.
- Supplementary elections will be conducted in 18 states of the federation on 23rdMarch 2019. Details of the states and constituencies where the elections will take place will be uploaded on our website before the close of work today.
- All observers and the media accredited by the Commission to cover the 2019 general elections are free to observe the elections. They will have unimpeded access to the material distribution centres, polling units and collation centres.
- Arising from the meeting held on 19thMarch 2019 between INEC and security agencies, the latter have given the assurances of adequate security, professional conduct and unimpeded access to all levels of the election and collation centres.
- The INEC Situation Room will be activated on Saturday 23rdMarch 2019. Nigerians can reach the Commission via 0700-2255-4632 and its social media platforms (twitter: @inecnigeria; Facebook: INEC Nigeria).
- The Commission encourages all registered voters in the areas where elections will be conducted to come out and cast their ballots. We also appeal to all stakeholders for continuous support.
PENDING CASES IN BAUCHI AND ADAMAWA
The Commission has conducted governorship elections in 29 states and returns have been made in 22 states. While the election was suspended in Rivers, it was declared inconclusive in 6 states namely Bauchi, Adamawa (North East); Benue and Plateau (North Central) and Sokoto and Kano (North West).
Following the inconclusive governorship elections in the 6 states, the Commission fixed supplementary elections for the 23rd of March 2019.
The supplementary governorship election earlier scheduled to hold in Bauchi state is now a subject of litigation which was initiated by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate, Mohammed A. Abubakar. An interlocutory injunction to suspend the process has been served on the Commission by the Federal High Court, Abuja. While the Commission has complied in accordance with its policy to obey all court orders in deference to the rule of law, it has also taken urgent steps to vacate the order and dismiss the action.
It should, however, be noted that the litigation and consequential order only affect the collation of results for the governorship election in Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area. Consequently, the supplementary elections will proceed as scheduled on Saturday 23 March in the other 15 Local Government Areas of Bauchi state as well as the Kirfi State Constituency Supplementary Election in Kirfi Local Government Area.
Similarly, the Adamawa State High court issued an injunction restraining the Commission from proceeding with the supplementary election following the application by the Movement for the Restoration and Defence of Democracy (MRDD), a registered political party which did not take part in the main election. While the Commission has also complied with the order, it has equally taken steps to vacate it and dismiss the action.
Notwithstanding the legal action over the Supplementary Governorship election, elections will hold in Nassarawo/Binyeri State Constituency in Mayo – Belwa Local government area where the election had to be countermanded following the death of a candidate before the polls, as well as the supplementary State Constituency election and Uba/Gaya State Constituency in Hong Local Government Area.
RESUMPTION OF ELECTORAL PROCESS IN RIVERS STATE
Following the violent disruption of the electoral process in Rivers during the Governorship and State Assembly elections on 9th and 10th March 2019, the Commission was compelled to suspend the process.
The Commission set up a Fact-Finding Committee that visited Rivers State and submitted its report which revealed that while election could not hold in a few areas, it was successfully concluded in others with the declaration of winners in 21 state constituencies. Collation was ongoing at the time of the suspension of the process. The activities and timelines for the resumption and conclusion of the process are as follows:
|1.||Engagement with security agencies||19thMarch||Abuja|
|2.||ICCES meeting (Rivers State)||29th March||Port Harcourt|
|3||Meeting with Stakeholders||30th March||Port Harcourt|
|4||Issuance of Guidelines for resumption of collation of results||1st April||INEC Headquarters, Abuja|
|5||Revalidation of Polling Agents and Observers for collation of results||25th– 31stMarch||Abuja and Port Harcourt|
|6||Resumption of collation and announcement of results||2nd – 5thApril||Port Harcourt (Venue to be agreed with stakeholders)|
|7||Supplementary elections where necessary||13th April||Various locations|
|8||Announcement of results of all supplementary elections||13th – 15thApril||Various locations|
|9||Issuance of all outstanding Certificates of Return||Latest 19thof April||INEC Office, Port Harcourt|