EndSARS Protests Threaten October 31 Bye-Elections - 12 months ago

With the ongoing #End­SARS protests across the country, the Independent National Electoral Com­mission (INEC), may be forced to postpone the bye-elections scheduled for October 31. The protests, which have degenerated into violence, have created a lot of tension in most parts of the country. The scheduled polls were expected to take place in Bayelsa Central Senatorial District, Bayelsa West Sen­atorial District, Nganzai State Constituency, Borno State, Bayo State Constitu­ency, Borno State, Cross Riv­er North Senatorial District, and Obudu State Constitu­ency, Cross River State. Others are: Imo North Senatorial District, Lagos East Senatorial District, Kosofe II State Constituency, Lagos State, Plateau South Senatorial District, Bakura State Constituency, Zamfara State, and Ibaji State Con­stituency, Kogi State. A source in the Commis­sion told our correspondent that INEC had no option than to postpone the elec­tion “given the disruption caused by the protests, espe­cially to the Nigerian Police, which is an integral part of the electoral process”. He said the election may be postponed by a mini­mum of two weeks “or as long as the protests last”. Also, the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), on Tuesday, urged INEC to consider postponement of the October 31 bye-elections by two weeks following the ongoing #EndSARS pro­tests. The IPAC chairman, Femi Olaniyi, in a state­ment in Lagos, said that the postponement had become imperative for seamless and hitch-free bye-elections across the country. “In view of the present ongoings in the country generally, INEC should postpone all bye-elections nationwide by two weeks because all political par­ties could not campaign as required due to the #End­SARS protests nationwide. “Going ahead with the election on 31st October will be a biased action against the new and up­coming political parties that needed to create more awareness. “This is the first election in Lagos after the de-regis­tration of some political parties and campaign can only be done during the election period to make known to the public the currently registered par­ties,” he said. However, when contact­ed, Rotimi Oyekanmi, Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said the Commission was yet to take a decision on whether to postpone the elections or not.

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