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By-elections, re-runs ongoing in 26 states

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The Independent National Electoral Commission is conducting by-elections and re-runs in 26 states today (Saturday).

The elections are holding in 80 Local Government Areas across 575 registration areas and 8,934 polling units.

The 26 states include Ebonyi, Yobe, Kebbi, Lagos, Ondo, Taraba, Benue, Borno, Kaduna, Plateau, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Cross River, Delta, Enugu, Jigawa, Katsina, Adamawa, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Kano, Nasarawa, Niger, Oyo, Sokoto and Zamfara.

The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, revealed that 4,904,627 million voters registered before the elections while only 4,613,291 million permanent voter cards were collected.

By-elections in two senatorial, four House of Representatives and three state Houses of Assembly seats are holding in nine states due to deaths and resignations.

Also, re-runs, which are as a result of court orders, are holding in one senatorial, 11 federal and 22 state constituencies.

Among the elections to be decided are those of replacements for President Bola Tinubu’s Chief of Staff, Femi Gbajabiamila; Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo; Minister of Works, David Umahi; Minister of Police Affairs, Ibrahim Geidam; and Minister of State for Education, Tanko Sununu; who all resigned to take up appointments in the Tinubu-led administration.

Also, by-elections are holding to replace Isma’ila Maihanchi, a member-elect from Taraba State who died before the inauguration of the National Assembly, and Abdulkadir Danbuga from Sokoto State, who died in October 2023.

The Inspector-General of Police, Olukayode Egbetokun, on Thursday, ordered the restriction of all forms of vehicular movement on roads, waterways, airspaces, and other forms of transportation from 12 a.m. to 6 p.m. in all 26 states ahead of the elections holding on Saturday.

The omission of the logo of the Peoples Democratic Party on ballot papers in Plateau State has generated some tension among party supporters.

This was as the PDP members who gathered to witness the distribution of the election materials were seen protesting the exclusion of their party from the process,

They accused INEC of acting against the Court of Appeal judgment which said that all parties shall contest in the re-run.

The PUNCH had reported that PDP supporters in the state on Wednesday staged a protest at the INEC  headquarters in Jos, over fears that the party was excluded.

Before the protests, there had been rumour that the PDP and its candidates would not participate in the re-rerun poll following the Court of Appeal judgment which nullified the elections in the two constituencies earlier won by the party’s candidates, Senator Simon Mwadkwon for Plateau North and Musa Agah for Jos North/Bassa Federal Constituency.

The appellate court had based the nullification of their elections because the PDP which nominated them as candidates had no structure.

The Department of State Services, in a statement issued on Friday by its Director, Public Relations and Strategic Communications, Peter Afunanya,  urged the electorate and political parties to avoid any actions that could cause a breakdown of law and order.

The state service urged concerned individuals and parties to be of good conduct and adhere to the provisions of the Electoral Act.

It stated, “The service wishes to call on the electorate and participating political parties in the 3rd February 2024 re-run and bye-elections to be of good conduct during and after the exercises in the affected states.

“In this regard, the service tasks the contending parties to shun all acts capable of causing a breakdown of law and order. Also, politicians and their supporters must strive to adhere to the electoral act and procedure.”

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