The Independent National Electoral Commission has expressed worries over the spate of recent judgments and orders of the court regarding the nomination, substitution or disqualification of candidates after all the sensitive materials have been printed as the November 11 governorship elections in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi States draw closer.
Disclosing this in Abuja on Tuesday at the commission’s Quarterly Consultative Meeting with leaders of political parties, the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, lamented that the reprinting of the materials in compliance with court orders within a short period was not only expensive but the management of the process was very challenging.
He said: “On the issue of candidature, the commission is concerned about the spate of recent judgments and orders of the court in respect of the nomination, substitution or disqualification of candidates after all the sensitive materials have been printed.
“Although the commission has already published the final list of candidates for the three states, four recent court orders have compelled us to review the list. These changes have been reflected in the updated list of parties and candidates on our website.
“However, this decision is without prejudice to any pending appeal by the affected candidates 3or their political parties.”
The INEC boss added that with just a little over two weeks to the election, the electoral body was at the concluding stages of its preparations.
According to him, this is the first time that the commission will be conducting three off-cycle governorship elections simultaneously across different geo-political zones.
Yakubu noted that this was made possible by the coincidence of the end of the tenure of the current holders of the offices which falls within the constitutional timeframe of not earlier than 150 days or later than 30 days before the expiration of their terms of office as enshrined in Section 178(2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).
He, however, revealed that in the next few days, the commission will publish the detailed distribution of agents uploaded by all political parties for public information.
He said “I am glad to report that the printing of agents’ identity cards will be completed this weekend. This will allow political parties ample time to distribute the cards to their agents. All the identity cards are QR code-readable to ensure maximum security and to avoid impersonation by unaccredited persons.”