The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has given its approval for the final list of candidates participating in the off-cycle Governorship elections in Kogi, Bayelsa, and Imo States. The elections are scheduled to take place on Saturday, November 11.
INEC condemned the reported altercation between the convoys of Kogi state Governor, Yahaya Bello, and the Governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Yakubu Muritala, in Lokoja.
Barr. Festus Okoye, the INEC National Commissioner and Chairman of the Information and Voter Education Committee, made this announcement in a statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday.
The approved list includes prominent candidates such as the incumbent governor of Imo State and candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Hope Uzodinma; the incumbent governor of Bayelsa State and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Douye Diri; the APC candidate in Bayelsa State, Timipre Sylva; the APC candidate in Kogi State, Ododo Ahmed Usman; the candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), Leke Abejide; and the PDP candidate, Dino Melaye.
Okoye explained that the decision to approve the list was in accordance with Section 32(1) of the Electoral Act 2022, which requires its publication no later than 150 days before the election day. The list was uploaded to INEC’s website and social media platforms, and it will also be published in their State and Local Government offices in the affected states on Thursday, June 8, ahead of the statutory deadline of June 9.
He further reminded political parties and candidates that campaign activities officially begin on Wednesday, June 14, in accordance with Section 94(1) of the Electoral Act 2022, and end on November 9, 24 hours prior to the election day.
Okoye expressed concern over the recent incident involving the convoys of two political actors in Kogi State, which resulted in the destruction of vehicles and properties. He urged parties and candidates to conduct their political activities with civility and decorum, emphasizing the importance of peaceful electioneering for a peaceful election.