Nigeria’s Electoral Commission Sets Stage for Re-Run and Bye-Elections, Aims for February 2024

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of Nigeria, led by Chairman Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has convened an extraordinary consultative meeting with political party leaders to discuss the imminent re-run and bye-elections anticipated early in 2024.

The meeting occurred on Monday, 18th December 2023, at the INEC conference room in Abuja. The gathering, which took place just two months after the last regular quarterly meeting, was attended by the Chairmen and leaders of various political parties, National Commissioners, the Secretary to the Commission, other senior officials of the Commission, and members of the INEC Press Corps.

Prof. Yakubu expressed his gratitude to the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) and party leaders for adjusting their schedules to attend the meeting.

He further briefed the attendees on the Commission’s preparation for the upcoming elections, which are in two categories: court-ordered re-run elections following the 2023 General Election and bye-elections necessitated by vacancies arising from death or resignations in the National and State Houses of Assembly.

Prof. Mahmood told the political leaders the Commission plans to conduct these two categories of elections concurrently.

Prof. Yakubu also emphasized that political parties must conduct fresh primaries for the bye-elections within the limited timeframe stipulated by law. The Election Petition Appeal Tribunals have currently ordered re-run elections in 34 constituencies, including one Senatorial District, 11 Federal Constituencies, and 22 State Assembly constituencies. These 34 constituencies represent only 2.8% of the 1,191 total petitions filed. The majority of these re-run elections will be held in only a few polling units within the constituencies.

Prof. Yakubu assured the attendees that a comprehensive analysis of the petitions, including cases where the Commission was ordered to issue Certificates of Return to alternate candidates, will be presented after all litigations have been resolved. This is aimed at learning from the 2023 General Election and implementing consequential reforms for future elections. In relation to the bye-elections, Prof. Yakubu reiterated the Commission’s commitment to fill vacancies in the National and State Assembly constituencies. According to him, the Commission is targeting the first week of February 2024 to conduct both the re-run and bye-elections. He said a definitive date, complete timetable, and schedule of activities will be announced imminently.

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