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INEC Concerned Court Judgments May Affect Bayelsa, Kogi, Imo Polls

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is concerned over the pre-election court judgments on the eve of the November 2023 off-cycle elections in Bayelsa, Kogi, and Imo states.

INEC National Chairman Mahmood Yakubu said this in Abuja on Tuesday during the Commission’s meeting with stakeholders.

“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,” the INEC chief added.

“The reprinting of the materials in compliance with court orders within a short period of time is not only expensive but the management of the process very challenging. 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 or their political parties.”

The INEC chief also expressed worry over security challenges in the states ahead of the November 11 elections.

“As electioneering campaigns continue to intensify, the Commission reiterates its concern about the spate of violence in the three States involving parties and candidates. I wish to remind you as party leaders that free and fair elections are only possible in an atmosphere of peace,” Mahmood added.

“After all, election is a process involving human beings as voters, election officials, observers, and the media whose safety is of paramount concern to us. While we will continue to work with the security agencies in this regard, political parties acting individually or collectively through the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) also have an obligation to impress on your members, candidates, and supporters to maintain peace during the campaign rallies and procession. I urge you to also appeal to them to maintain the same disposition on Election Day and beyond.”

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