The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has voiced his concerns about recent court judgments and security issues affecting the preparations for the upcoming governorship elections in Bayelsa, Kogi, and Imo states.
During a quarterly meeting with political parties at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja, Prof. Yakubu noted that recent court orders relating to candidate nominations, substitutions, and disqualifications have posed a challenge to INEC’s preparations. These legal developments have necessitated the reprinting of sensitive election materials, incurring additional expenses and management complexities.
With the elections scheduled for November 11, INEC is in the final stages of its preparations. This election marks a unique situation where the commission will conduct three off-cycle governorship elections simultaneously in different geopolitical zones.
The Chairman highlighted that the decision to revise the candidate lists due to recent court orders has been reflected on the updated list of parties and candidates on INEC’s website. However, this adjustment is subject to any pending appeals filed by affected candidates or their political parties.
Prof. Yakubu also expressed concern about the rising violence in the three states involving political parties and candidates, emphasizing the need for a peaceful atmosphere to ensure free and fair elections.
He reminded party leaders that peaceful elections are achievable within the constitutional timeframe, which falls within the period not earlier than 150 days nor later than 30 days before the expiration of the current officeholders’ tenures, as prescribed in Section 178(2) of the Nigerian Constitution.