Independent National Electoral Commission, on Tuesday, approved the final list of candidates for the off-cycle governorship elections in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi states on November 11.
INEC national commissioner for information, Festus Okoye, said in a statement that the approval was in line with the provision of the Electoral Act which requires the publication of the list not later than 150 days to election day.
Okoye said the final list, which has been uploaded to the commission’s website, shows 18 political parties are fielding candidates in Kogi, 17 in Imo and 16 in Bayelsa.
He added that the public campaign would officially start on June 14 and end on November 9.
The statement read, “At its regular meeting held today, Tuesday 6th June 2023, the commission approved the final list of candidates for the three off-cycle governorship elections scheduled to hold in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi states on Saturday 11th November 2023.
“The decision is in line with the provision of section 32(1) of the electoral act 2022 which requires the publication of the list not later than 150 days to election day i.e. Friday 9th June 2023 following the period for voluntary withdrawal and substitution of candidates by political parties under section 31 of the electoral act 2022.
“The final list has been uploaded to the commission’s website and social media platforms. Same will be published in our state and local government offices in the affected States on Thursday 8th June 2023 ahead of the statutory deadline of 9th June 2023.
“The list shows that all 18 political parties are fielding candidates in Kogi state, 17 in Imo State and 16 in Bayelsa State. The list also shows that two political parties are fielding female candidates in Bayelsa state, one in Kogi state and none in Imo state.
“The commission wishes to remind political parties and candidates that in line with the timetable and Schedule of Activities for the three elections, campaign in public officially commences on Wednesday 14th June 2023 in line with Section 94(1) of the Electoral Act 2022 and ends on 9th November 2023 i.e. 24 hours prior to election day.”
The commission encouraged political parties to desist from conflict and conduct their activities in a civil and peaceful manner.
He added, “Regrettably, the ugly incident last week involving the convoys of two political actors in Kogi State resulting in the destruction of vehicles and other properties ahead of the commencement of campaign is worrisome.
“We urge parties and candidates to conduct their political activities with civility and decorum as peaceful electioneering heralds a peaceful election. Political parties and candidates have a responsibility to de-escalate tension ahead of the elections.”