The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed Wednesday, June 14, 2023, for the commencement of campaigns in the off-cycle governorship elections in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi states.
INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, said this at the end of the commission’s regular meeting on Tuesday in Abuja.
He also said that that commission has approved the final list of candidates for the November 11 elections.
Okoye said the decision was in line with the provision of Section 32(1) of the Electoral Act 2022 which requires the publication of the list not later than 150 days to election day, that is Friday 9th June 2023 following the period for voluntary withdrawal and substitution of candidates by political parties under Section 31 of the Electoral Act 2022.
On the commencement of campaigns on June 14, Okoye said that this is in line with Section 94(1) of the Electoral Act 2022 and that the campaigns officially ends on 9th November 2023 that is 24 hours prior to Election Day.
“The final list has been uploaded to the commission’s website and social media platforms. Same will be published in our State and Local Government offices in the affected states on Thursday 8th June 2023 ahead of the statutory deadline of 9th June 2023.
“The list shows that all 18 political parties are fielding candidates in Kogi State, 17 in Imo State and 16 in Bayelsa State. The list also shows that two political parties are fielding female candidates in Bayelsa State, one in Kogi State and none in Imo State,” Okoye said.
He also spoke on Friday’s clash between the campaign team of the Kogi State governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Yakubu Muritala Ajaka and the convoy of Governor Yahaya Bello.
“Regrettably, the ugly incident last week involving the convoys of two political actors in Kogi State resulting in the destruction of vehicles and other properties ahead of the commencement of campaign is worrisome.
“We urge parties and candidates to conduct their political activities with civility and decorum as peaceful electioneering heralds a peaceful election. Political parties and candidates have a responsibility to de-escalate tension ahead of the elections,” Okoye said.