Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has approved the final list of candidates for the upcoming off-cycle governorship elections in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi States.
The elections are scheduled to take place on Saturday, November 11, 2023.
INEC national commissioner and chairman of the Information and Voter Education Committee, Barr. Festus Okoye, disclosed this in a statement in Abuja yesterday.
Okoye said the decision aligns with the provision of Section 32(1) of the Electoral Act 2022.
He said the provision requires the publication of the final list no later than 150 days before the election day, which falls on Friday, June 9, 2023.
Okoye said the period for voluntary withdrawal and substitution of candidates by political parties, as outlined in Section 31 of the Electoral Act 2022, has also been considered.
He said the final list of candidates had been uploaded to the commission’s website and social media platforms.
Okoye said it would be published in INEC’s state and local government offices in the affected states on Thursday, June 8, 2023 in adherence to the statutory deadline of June 9, 2023.
“According to the list, all 18 political parties will field candidates in Kogi State, while 17 parties will field candidates in Imo State and 16 parties in Bayelsa State. Additionally, two political parties will field female candidates in Bayelsa State, one in Kogi State, and none in Imo State,” he said.
Okoye reminded the political parties and candidates about the timetable and schedule of activities for the three elections.
In accordance with Section 94(1) of the Electoral Act 2022, he said official public campaign activities will commence on Wednesday, June 14, 2023 and end on November 9, 2023, which is 24 hours before the election day.
Expressing concern over recent incidents in Kogi State, where the convoys of two political actors were involved in destructive acts targeting vehicles and properties, Okoye emphasised the importance of conducting political activities with civility and decorum.
He stressed that peaceful electioneering sets the stage for a peaceful election and called upon political parties and candidates to de-escalate tensions ahead of the elections.
He said INEC will continue to work diligently to ensure a smooth and transparent electoral process, urging all stakeholders to collaborate in creating an environment conducive to credible and peaceful elections.