The Independent National Electoral Commission (lNEC) has postponed the governorship elections in Kogi and BayelsaStates , earlier scheduled for Nov. 2 by two weeks. The elections will now hold on November 16.
This disclosure was made by the Commission in a statement issued by its National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr Festus Okoye, on Thursday in Abuja.
The decision, according to Okoye, was taken at the commission’s regular weekly meeting held on Thursday, following several appeals received by INEC from critical stakeholders from Bayelsa demanding for a change in the earlier fixed date.
“It will be recalled that on April 9, lNEC released the timetable and schedule of activities for Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections. The Commission fixed Nov. 2 for the elections to hold in both states.
“However, the Commission received several appeals from Bayelsa that the election coincided with the state’s Annual Thanksgiving Day which is backed by law.
“After a careful consideration of the appeals, the Commission at its regular weekly meeting held today Thursday May 16 decided to shift the governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa States to Saturday Nov. 16,” he said.
Okoye added that the timelines for all other activities leading to the elections have also been adjusted to align with the new date.
In the new timetable and schedule of activities for the elections signed by Secretary to the Commission, Mrs Rose Oriaran-Anthony, the notice for the elections would be released on Aug. 17. Collection of forms CF001 and CF002 by political parties from INEC for the elections would be on Aug. 18, while the conduct of parties primaries would hold from Aug. 18 to Sept 5, and election campaign would commenced by Aug. 18.
The commission also scheduled Oct. 2 as the last day for the submission of nomination forms by political parties and Nov. 14 as the last day for political campaigns.
It would be recalled that Bayelsa State government had asked INEC to shift the date of the election because it coincides with the annual thanksgiving day of the state.
The government premised its demand on the fact that the day clashes with its yearly thanksgiving service which is backed by law.
The delegation to the INEC headquarters was led by the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah (retd), who pleaded with the chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu to shift the elections because the state’s thanksgiving service, according to the Deputy Governor, has the backing of the law and had been on for the past seven years.