The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has rolled out timelines and activities for the conclusion of the collation of results and supplementary elections in the country.
Festus Okoye, the National Commissioner in Charge of Information and Voter Education, disclosed this on Thursday at a press conference in Abuja.
He said the supplementary elections would be conduct in 13 states of the federation on March 23, 2019, adding that details of the states and constituencies where elections would take place would be updated on the commission’s website before the close of work on Thursday.
He said all observers and journalists accredited to cover 2019 elections by the commission are free to observe the election.
“While the election was suspended in Rivers, it was declared inconclusive in six states, namely: Bauchi, Adamawa, Benue, Sokoto, and Kano. Following the inconclusive governorship elections in these six states, the commission has fixed election for the 23rd day of March, 2019,” he said.
“Therefore, the supplementary governorship elections earlier scheduled to hold in Bauchi State is now a subject of litigation, which was initiated by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate, Muhammed A. Abubakar. An interlocutory injunction to suspend the process has been served on the commission by the Federal High Court, Abuja.”
He said the commission would comply with the policy to obey court orders in defence of rule of law, adding that the commission had taken cogent steps to vacate the order and dismiss the action.
“It should however be noted that the litigation and consequential order only affects the collation of results for the governorship election in Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area. Consequently, the supplementary election will proceed as scheduled on Saturday, 23rd of March, 2019, in the other 15 Local Government Areas of Bauchi State,” he added.
He said the commission had complied with the order by the Adamawa State High Court, which stopped it from proceeding with the supplementary elections following the application by the Movement for the Restoration and Defence of Democracy (MRDD), a registered political party, which did not take part in the main election. He noted that the commission has taken steps to vacate the order.
He explained that elections would hold in those constituencies where a candidate died before the polls.
On the resumption of electoral process in Rivers State, Okoye said the commission has applied activities and timeline for the resumption of the electoral process in the state.
“The commission will have engagement with security agencies on the 19th of March, 2019. On 29th March, the commission will hold inter-agency consultative committee meeting on election security, and it will take place in Rivers State, while INEC will hold meeting of the critical stakeholders in the electoral process on 30th March.”
Okoye stated that the national headquarters of the commission would issue guidelines for the resumption of collation of results for the state, adding that there will be a revalidation of party agents and observers for the collation of results, which will commence on 25th March.
“Thereafter, there will be resumption of collation and announcement of results, which will take place between the 2nd to 5th April, 2019, and it will take place in Port Harcourt and the venue for the particular activities will be agreed upon between the commission and critical stakeholders on electoral reform. Then on the 13th of April, there will be supplementary elections where necessary. Thereafter, there will be announcement of all results between 13th and 15th April.”
The commissioner added that all outstanding certificates of return that fall into these categories of elections would be issued on April 19.