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INEC postpones bye-elections in Bayelsa, Imo, Plateau

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Mahmood-Yakubu

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Thursday postponed the bye-elections for some senatorial districts in Bayelsa, Imo, and Plateau States because of Coronavirus.

A statement issued by the Commission spokesman, Festus Okoye, said the bye-elections would take place in Bayelsa Central and Bayelsa West where the seats became vacant following the election of Douye Diri and Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, as governor and deputy governor of the state respectively.

The Imo North District seat became vacant following the death of Benjamin Uwajumogu, the same with Plateau South District whose senator, Longjan Datong, had also died.

The postponement of the bye-elections, according to INEC, became necessary because of the “health emergency occasioned by the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Commission said it would release the timetable and schedule of activities for the bye-elections as soon as the Coronavirus subsides.

The statement read: “Section 26 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) empowers the election commission to postpone any election in the event of an emergency or national disaster.

“The Commission is compelled to take this step in recognition of the fact that all major activities in the electoral process involve a large gathering of people. These include the conduct of party primaries, campaigns, stakeholder meetings, training, and deployment of election and security personnel, movement of accredited observers and journalists, the congregation of voters and other stakeholders at polling units, as well as the collation centres.

“While the Commission acknowledges the rights and desire of citizens for effective representation, there is an overriding public interest in ensuring the health, safety, and well-being of all stakeholders.”

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