The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has postponed bye-elections for senatorial districts in Bayelsa, Imo, and Plateau states over coronavirus.
Festus Okoye, a spokesman of the electoral body, announced this in a statement on Thursday.
The affected districts in Bayelsa are Bayelsa central and Bayelsa west where Diri Duoye, the governor, and Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, his deputy, vacated in February.
The seat for Imo north district became vacant after the death of Benjamin Uwajumogu and in Plateau south, the death of Longjan Datong made the seat vacant.
“Section 26 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) empowers the election commission to postpone any election in the event of an emergency or national disaster,” Okoye said in the statement.
“The Commission is compelled to take this step in recognition of the fact that all major activities in the electoral process involve large gathering of people. These include the conduct of party primaries, campaigns, stakeholder meetings, training, and deployment of election and security personnel, movement of accredited observers and journalists, congregation of voters and other stakeholders at polling units, as well as the collation centres.
“While the Commission acknowledges the rights and desire of citizens for effective representation, there is an over-riding public interest in ensuring the health, safety and well-being of all stakeholders.”
INEC said the timetable and schedule of activities for the postponed bye-elections would be released as soon as the coronavirus is brought under control.