By Patrick Obia and Maxwell Effiong
The All Progressives Congress (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) have released schedules of activities leading up to the February 26, 2022 legislative by-elections into different constituencies in the country.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had last week, announced that it has slated February 26th to conduct by-elections for the Ogoja/Yala Federal Constituency and the Akpabuyo State constituency in Cross Riveer State among others.
While the seat for the member representing Ogoja/Yala federal constituency in the House of Representatives was declared vacant by the Speaker, that of Akpabuyo in the State House of Assembly became vacant owing to the death of two term lawmaker, Elizabeth Ironbar in October 2021.
According to the APC’s timetable, signed by the secretary of the caretaker and convention planning committee, Akpan Udoedehe, activities commenced on Tuesday, January 18, 2022 with a notice to the respective State chapters as well as sale of forms at the national secretariat. The forms are to be submitted on or before Monday, January 24, 2022.
The aspirants will be screened on Wednesday, January 26th while publication of claims and objections will be done on January 28th with the screening of appeals slated for Sunday, January 30, 2022. The primaries to select a candidate will hold on February 1, 2022 while appeals will be heard on February 3, 2022.
The forms will cost each House of Representatives aspirant NGN3,850,000 and State House of Assembly aspirants NGN850,000.
For the PDP, the activities schedule released by Umar Bature shows that the first process of notification began on Monday, January 17, 2022 with sales of forms commencing on Tuesday which must be submitted by Monday, January 24, 2022. Aspirants will be screened on Wednesday, January 26th with the appeals on the screening exercise to be heard and decided on Friday, January 28th.
The three Ad-hoc delegates for each ward will be elected on the same Friday while the appeals will be decided on Monday, January 31st. The Local Government congress to elect national delegates will hold on February 1st while the appeal on the outcome will be determined on February 2nd and the primary elections to elect a candidate slated for February 3rd.
Appeals from the primaries will be decided on February 5th with the National Working Committee meeting on February 7th.
According to INEC timetable, the last day for nomination of candidates is February 9, 2022.
It will be recalled that the INEC National Commissioner in charge of Information and Voter Education Committee, Barr. Festus Okoye in a statement issued last week in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, said that by-elections will hold in six different constituencies in four States.
Asides the two in Cross River, by-elections will be conducted in the, “Akure North/Akure South Federal Constituency, Ondo State; Jos North/Bassa Federal Constituency, Plateau State; Pankshin South State Constituency, Plateau State; Ngor-Okpala State Constituency, Imo State,” Okoye’s statement read.
“The elections will hold on Saturday 26th February 2022 immediately after the FCT Area Council elections. This will enable the Commission to clear most of the bye-elections, focus on the Ekiti and Osun Governorship elections and ongoing preparations for the 2023 General Election,” the statement read.
According to the statement, some of the vacancies arose as a result of the death of the previous occupants; substantial disruption of the electoral process and fulfillment of constitutional and legal requirements in the electoral process.
“The Commission considered the 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. The Commission decided to combine the Ekiti East 1 State Constituency election with the Governorship election in Ekiti, which will hold on 18th June 2022.
“The Commission is consulting with security agencies and the critical stakeholders relating to the vacancy in Shinkafi State Constituency of Zamfara State while the Speaker of the Kaduna State House of Assembly has not declared vacancy in relation to Giwa State Constituency of Kaduna State”, he added.
Okoye added that “political parties that present to the Commission the name of 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 five hundred thousand (500,000.00).”
He also disclosed that the Commission was finalizing all arrangements for the conduct of the Area Council election in the Federal Capital Territory FCT.
“Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) for all new registrants as well as requests for transfers and replacement of damaged cards have been printed and are available in all the six Area Councils for collection. The Commission appeals to citizens who applied for fresh registration as well as transfers and replacement of the PVCs to do so immediately and avoid last minute rush for these cards, as has been the case in the past.” Okoye added.
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