INEC To Release Timetable For FCT Elections At Appropriate Time- Yakubu 



The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has said that it will release timetable for the conduct of elections into Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Chairmen and Councilors only at the appropriate time as contained in the Electoral Act 2022.

Addressing the meeting of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), in Abuja, Chairman of INEC, Mahmood Yakubu, informed the meeting that the National Assembly had repealed and re-enacted the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) as the Electoral Act 2022.

In particular, in the exercise of its powers as the law-making body for the FCT, the National Assembly extended the tenure of the Area Councils from three to four years, thereby aligning it with executive and legislative elections nationwide, explaining Yakubu.

This he said is one of the important provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 which came into force on Friday 25th February 2022, two weeks after the last Area Council elections in the FCT.

He stated clearly that by the time the elected Chairmen and Councillors were sworn-in four months later on 14th June 2022, they took their oath of allegiance and oath of office on the basis of the new electoral Act (i.e. the Electoral Act 2022) which provides for a four-year tenure. Consequently, their tenure therefore expires in June 2026.

“For the avoidance of doubt, tenure is not defined by the date of election but the date of the oath of office for executive elections or the date of inauguration for legislative houses.

“For the executive, the tenure belongs to the elected individual while for legislators, the tenure belongs to the Legislature.

“A President/Vice President-elect, Governor/Deputy Governor-elect, Senator-elect, Member-elect, Chairman-elect or Councillor-elect cannot exercise the powers of office and draw from the remunerations attached to it until such a person is sworn-in or the legislative house is inaugurated.” INEC Chairman said.

To further illustrate this position, Yakubu said the Commission has since released the Timetable for the 2024 Edo and Ondo State Governorship elections which he said does not mean that whoever wins the election in Edo State in September or in Ondo State in November will immediately assume office.

According to him, This will only take place after the administration of the oath of office upon the expiration of the tenure of the incumbent holders of the offices. Elections are only held earlier in order to an avoid vacuum., “That is why the Constitution empowers the Commission to hold elections not earlier than 150 days and not later than 30 days before the end of tenure of incumbent holders of elective offices.”

He went on to state that in the case of the FCT, Section 108(1) of the Electoral Act 2022 under which the current Chairmen and Councillors were sworn-in on 14th June 2022 is clear and therefore unambiguous:

“(1) An Area Council shall stand dissolved at the expiration of 4 years commencing from the date –

(a) when the Chairman took the oath of office; or

(b) when the legislative arm of the Council was inaugurated whichever is earlier”.

He therefore appealed to all persons with ambition to contest for the positions of Chairmen and Councillors in the FCT to be guided by the provisions of the law and judicial pronouncements on the issue of tenure,

Yakubu, also appealed to political parties to enlighten their members accordingly. At the appropriate time, the Commission will release the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the election.

He appreciated the role of IPAC led by the National Chairman in mobilising stakeholders in the FCT to interface with INEC on this very important matter. This is one of the objectives behind the formation of IPAC so that when matters of this nature come up, the Commission will always be available to interact with you and provide the necessary clarifications.

He said that the Commission is aware of its responsibilities under the law and that Section 28(1) of the Electoral Act 2022 requires the Commission to release the Timetable and Schedule of Activities 360 days (i.e. One year) before the date fixed for the election. It cannot be released two years ahead of elections.

He said the Area Council election in the FCT conducted by INEC remains a model for Local Government elections in the country, noting that there is stability of tenure for Chairmen and Councillors and there has never been a caretaker committee in any Area Council in the FCT.

He stressed that democratic elections are conducted on regular basis and there  is plurality of electoral outcomes as no single political party has ever won elections in all the 68 Constituencies (six Area Council Chairmen and 62 Councillors).

He assured that the Commission will continue to uphold the sanctity of tenure and improve the credibility of these elections.

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