By Patrick Obia
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC has postponed the 15 bye-elections earlier slated for October 31st in the aftermath of the #EndSARS and #EndPoliceBrutality protest across the country.
National Commissioner and Chairman of INEC’s Information and Voter Education Committee, Barr. Festus Okoye made this known in a statement on Thursday, 22nd October, 2020 stating that, the postponement is as a result of #EndPoliceBrutality protest which is said to have been hijacked by hoodlums to cause havoc across the nation.
The Commissioner did not announce a new date for the bye-election, but however said it would meet again in two weeks to assess the security situation and decide feasible date for the elections.
Statement in part: “The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC met today, 22nd October 2020 with the 37 Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) to review preparations for the 15 bye-election in 11 States of the Federation scheduled to hold on 31st October 2020.
“On Wednesday 21st October 2020, the Commission notified the nation that haven taken cognizance of the current security situation in parts of the country, a meeting with the 37 RECs will be held to evaluate the situation in the States and Constituencies where Bye-election is scheduled to hold.
“Accordingly, the Commission has decided to postpone the bye-election in the 6 Senatorial Districts and 9 State Constituencies. This decision is in compliance with Section 26 (2) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), which gives the Commission the power to postpone an election if there is reason to believe that a serious breach of the peace is likely to occur, if the election is proceeded with on that date, or that it is impossible to conduct the elections as a result of natural disasters or other emergencies.
“The Commission will continue to monitor the situation in all the States and Constituencies, consult with relevant stakeholders and meet again in two weeks to review the situation and decide on a feasible date for the elections.
“The Commission appeals for calm and understanding of stakeholders and voters in the States where elections were scheduled. The safety of the voters, election officials and other stakeholders is paramount to the Commission in conducting elections.
“We are convinced that the country will emerge from the current challenges stronger while our electoral process will continue to improve”. It ended.