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FCT chairmen, councilors’ tenures expire 2026, not 2025 – INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that the tenure of the elected chairmen and councilors of the six area councils in the Federal…

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that the tenure of the elected chairmen and councilors of the six area councils in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) is for four years and not three years, thus would expire in 2026 and not 2025, as some erroneously believe.

The INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said this yesterday in Abuja at a meeting with the leadership of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) over the tenure of area councils in the FCT.

The IPAC national chairman, Alhaji Yusuf Dantalle, who doubles as national chairman of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM), said they came to INEC alongside the IPAC FCT chapter, to seek INEC’s clarification on the tenure of the current chairmen for the six area councils and the 62 councilors in the FCT.

Daily Trust Saturday reports that while the 36 state independent electoral commissions (SIECS) conduct local government elections in the states, only the FCT is exempted with the constitution mandating INEC to conduct the local elections in the territory.

Our correspondent also reports that there has been heated debate by some sections of the 18 registered political parties, residents and politicians over when INEC would conduct a fresh election in the FCT.

However, Prof. Yakubu said that while the 2010 Electoral Act as Amended provided for a three-year tenure, the 2022 Electoral Act as Amended provided for a four-year tenure for elected chairmen and councilors in the FCT.

“I must also place on record that the commission had earlier received inquiries from some law firms, an individual, a political party and one FCT Chairmanship Aspirants’ Forum. In summary, all the inquiries relate to the tenure of the Area Councils and a demand for the commission to release the timetable and schedule of activities for the Area Council elections,” he said.

The INEC boss said that the Act came into force on Friday 25th February 2022, two weeks after the last area council elections in the FCT.

He also said that by the time the elected chairmen and councilors were sworn-in four months later on 14th June 2022, they took their oath of allegiance and oath of office on the basis of the new Electoral Act (i.e. the Electoral Act 2022), which provides for a four-year tenure.

“Consequently, their tenure therefore expires in June 2026. For the avoidance of doubt, tenure is not defined by the date of election but the date of the oath of office for executive elections or the date of inauguration for legislative houses”, he said.

He said that in the case of the FCT, Section 108(1) of the Electoral Act 2022 under which the current chairmen and councilors were sworn-in on 14th June 2022 is clear and therefore unambiguous.

“(1) An Area Council shall stand dissolved at the expiration of 4 years commencing from the date – (a) when the chairman took the oath of office; or (b) when the legislative arm of the Council was inaugurated whichever is earlier”, Yakubu said quoting the act.

 

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