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Re-run, Bye-elections: Tension As Parties, Candidates Fight For 57 Legislative Seats



Why We Extend Enugu State Constituency Rerun Election – INEC

AFTER months of preparation, the stage is set for today’s re-run and bye-elections to fill 48 legislative seats across 26 states of the country.

There were little or no campaigns for today’s elections, which were rounded off on Thursday.

Amid tension in some of the constituencies that are usually volatile during elections, the Department of State Services, DSS, has warned Nigerians taking part in the elections to be of good conduct during and after the exercises in the affected states.

The Service asked the contending parties to shun all acts capable of causing a breakdown of law and order.

At the same time, the DSS urged politicians and their supporters to adhere to the electoral act and procedure. Also, the Inspector General of Police, IGP Kayode Adeolu Egbetokun, had on Thursday ordered the restriction of all forms of vehicular movement on roads, waterways, and other forms of transportation from 12 a.m. to 6 p.m today in all states where elections will be conducted.

The only exception are those on essential services such as the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, officials, electoral observers, accredited media and observers both foreign and domestic, ambulances responding to medical emergencies, and firefighters among others.

The affected states are Ebonyi, Yobe, Kebbi, Lagos, Ondo, Taraba, Benue, Borno, Kaduna, Plateau, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Cross River, Delta, Enugu, Jigawa, Katsina, Adamawa, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Kano, Nasarawa, Niger, Oyo, Sokoto, and Zamfara.

INEC assures of free, fair polls
The INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, has however assured of credible exercises and tasked all stakeholders on support to ensure violence-free polls.

Bye-Election For 9 Seats

Giving the breakdown for the elections, Yakubu said that two Senators, four members of the House of Representatives and three members of State Assemblies will be elected in bye-elections to replace members who passed on or resigned their memberships of National and States Assembly in nine states.

Immediate past Governor of Ebonyi State, and Works Minister, Engr David Umahi; and Chief of Staff to President Bola Tinubu and immediate past Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, are among lawmakers who resigned. Umahi was elected as senator but he left the post to take up appointment as minister.

Also Gbajabiamila was re-elected into his Surulere Constituency, Lagos but he opted for an executive appointment.

Re-Run Polls

Yakubu said the re-run elections will take place at designated constituencies or polling units as ordered by the Election Appeal Tribunals.

He said: “The elections will fill vacancies in three Senatorial Districts, 17 Federal and 28 State Constituencies spread across 80 Local Government Areas, 575 Registration Areas/Wards and 8,934 Polling Units involving 4,904,627 registered voters, out of which 4,613,291 Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) have been collected.”

Professor Yakubu acknowledged that the Commission could not handle such a huge national assignment alone and “that is why we seek to mobilise every national asset.”

DSS warns against dangerous acts
The warning is contained in a statement by the Director of Public Relations and Strategic Communications, Dr. Peter Afunanya.

Beyond the elections, the DSS enjoins citizens to be patriotic and loyal to the Nigerian nation.

The statement also enjoined public commentators, social critics and key players in the public space to consider the peace of the country over and above their personal or group interests.

“Similarly, the Media, Civil Society and Community-based organisations were encouraged to shun divisive tendencies and fake narratives likely to undermine national order. ”It is unarguable that it is only if there is a livable country that individuals, groups or corporate bodies can pursue and realise their legitimate businesses and ambitions.

“The Service, therefore, advises those engaging in subversive endeavours or desirous of doing so to desist from such as it will not hesitate to bring defaulters, no matter how highly placed, to face the full weight of the law.

“On its part, the Service, in the discharge of its mandate, will work with the Independent National Electoral Commission, other sister security and law enforcement agencies and indeed all stakeholders to ensure a hitch-free election.

Why PDP Won’t Join Plateau Re-Run Elections Today- IPAC

Meanwhile, the Inter-Party Advisory Council, IPAC, has set the record straight about why the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, will be missing from the re-run elections in Plateau State, especially in the northern region. The national body of IPAC, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Chinyere Oge-Kalu, yesterday, distanced itself from a recent press conference by its Plateau State chapter, which criticized the exclusion of the PDP from the elections.

The Council stated that the local chapter’s actions did not reflect the decisions made at a higher level.

Oge-kalu explained that during a meeting in Abuja on December 18, 2024, all political parties, including the PDP, were reminded that a court ruling prevents the PDP from participating in the Plateau re-run. This was agreed upon by everyone, to keep the game fair and square.

She said: “While the court judgement is already being challenged by the concerned political party, it is unwise for any individual or group of individuals under any guise to embark on any course of action capable of inciting violence or derailing the fragile peace in Plateau State.

“Therefore, the action of the Plateau State chapter is misguided as it is not a representation of the outcome of the consultative stakeholders’ meeting held by INEC with the leadership of all political parties on the 18th December 2024 at the INEC headquarters in Abuja.

“The leadership of the Council in Plateau State is hereby cautioned, hence admonished to operate within the ambit of the Code of Conduct as matters of this nature is exclusively within the purview of the National.”

Journalists Complain Over Denial Of Accreditation

Meanwhile, a host of journalists in some of the 26 states decried non-accreditation by the INEC to cover the elections despite registering on the commission’s portal before the January 25 deadline to do so.

Those affected including Vanguard correspondents wondered how they would monitor the polls in view of volatility of some areas and Police restriction.

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