The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Friday fixed February 26, 2022 for the conduct of by-elections for six constituencies in four states.
The commission also warned political parties against nominating unqualified candidates for the polls.
INEC National Commissioner and Chairman (Information and Voter Education Committee), Festus Okoye announced this in a statement in Abuja.
The six pending by-elections are Akure North/Akure South Federal Constituency, Ondo State; Jos North/Bassa Federal Constituency, Plateau State; Pankshin South State Constituency, Plateau State; Ogoja and Yala Federal Constituency, Cross River State.
Others are Akpabuyo State Constituency, Cross River State and Ngor-Okpala State Constituency, Imo State.
The elections would take place two weeks after the Federal Capital Territory Area Council elections scheduled for Saturday, February 12, 2022.
Okoye said the decision to conduct the by-elections immediately after the FCT poll was to enable the Commission to clear most of the polls and focus on the Ekiti, Osun Governorship elections and ongoing preparations for the 2023 general election.
According to him, 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.
Okoye said 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.
In view of this, Okoye said the commission would combine the Ekiti East 1 State constituency election with the governorship election in the state, scheduled for June 18, 2022.
He said, “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.
“The official notification for the elections will be published on Monday, January 24, 2022. Political Parties shall conduct their primaries including resolution of disputes arising from the primaries between January 26, and February 5, 2022 while the last day for submission of list of nominated candidates is at 6pm on February 9, 2022 and this must be done through the Commission’s online nomination portal.
“Political Parties shall submit the names of their Polling Agents for the election to the Electoral Officer of the Local Government on or before February 12, 2022 and campaigns by Political parties shall stop on February 24, 2022. The Access Code for the nomination forms shall be available for collection from February 5, 2022 at the Commission’s Headquarters.”
He advised parties to conduct transparent and valid direct or indirect primaries in accordance with the dictates of sections 85 and 87 of the Electoral Act 2010 (As amended)
“Political parties must note that the aspirant with the highest number of votes at the end of voting shall be declared the winner of the primary of the party and the aspirant’s name shall be forwarded to the Commission as the candidate of the party.
“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 N500,000.00.
“The detailed Timetable and Schedule of activities has been uploaded on the Commission’s website and social media platforms,” he added.