The Independent National Electoral Commission has postponed the governorship elections in Bayelsa and Kogi states, earlier fixed for November 2 by two weeks.
While announcing November 16 as the new date for the elections, the commission said the timelines for all other activities leading to the elections had also been adjusted to align with the new date.
“The run-off election to the office of governor of a state (if any)will be held within 21 days after the announcement of result of the election in accordance with Section 179 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended – 4th Alteration).
“This timetable and schedule of activities supersede the one issued on April 9 2019,” the electoral body said in a notice signed by its Secretary, Rose Oriaran-Anthony, and made available to journalists on Thursday.
The decision to change the date of the elections came barely 48 hours after the Bayelsa State Deputy Governor, John Jonah, led stakeholders from the state on a courtesy visit to the Chairman of INEC, Prof Mahmoud Yakubu, demanding an adjustment in date of the election.
Jonah had hinged the demand for adjustment in the date on the fact that the date early fixed for the election clashed with the state annual thanksgiving day.
A statement by INEC National Commissioner and chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, said the decision was taken “after a careful consideration of the appeals” during the commission’s regular weekly meeting held on Thursday.
He said, “It will be recalled that on April 9, 2019, the Independent National Electoral Commission released the timetable and schedule of activities for the Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections. The commission fixed November 2 for the elections to hold in both states.
“However, the commission has received several appeals from the government, state Assembly, elders, religious leaders, traditional rulers and other critical stakeholders in Bayelsa State that the election date coincides with the state’s annual thanksgiving day which is backed by the Bayelsa State Thanksgiving Day Law 2012.
After careful consideration of the appeals. the commission at its regular weekly meeting held on Thursday, May 16 decided to shift the governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states to Saturday, November 16, 2017.
“The timelines for all other activities leading to the elections have also been adjusted to align with the new date.”