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2023 Off-Cycle Elections: What you should know!

In less than 24 hours from now, the off-cycle elections will take place in three states, namely Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi. Since the Presidential, National Assembly, Governorship, and State House of Assembly elections are held simultaneously every four years, off-cycle elections are held outside this period. The last general election in Nigeria was held earlier this year from February to March.

 

Background

Nigeria returned to Democracy in 1999, and elections were held simultaneously in all federation states. Several candidates who were not satisfied with the outcome petitioned the court to reclaim their mandate. The electoral petition tribunal then ruled that the results should be dismissed, and some governors of certain states with challenged results held re-elections. It is the re-election in eight of the Nigerian states that became off-cycle electoral states. These states include Anambra, Bayelsa, Edo, Ekiti, Kogi, Imo, Ondo and Osun.

Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) announced November 11, 2023, as the set date to hold the off-cycle election in three states, namely, Bayelsa, Kogi, and Imo. While preparations are underway, the security agencies have begun deploying officers to see to the security of the states during the elections. However, the electoral body must make sure the election is free, fair, and credible. INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu said the commission would deploy 46,084 staff for the polls. In total, there are 1,056,862 registered voters in Bayelsa, Imo has 2,419,922, and 1,932,654 registered voters in Kogi.

 

In Bayelsa, 16 political parties are participating in the gubernatorial elections, thus making 16 contestants in all: 2 females and 14 males. Diri Duoye (PDP), Eradiri Udengmobofa (LP), Timipre Sylva (APC), and Ogege Mercy (APP) (female) are among the candidates. The incumbent governor is Douye Diri, a candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); he has served as the governor of Bayelsa State since 2020. He was the Senator representing Bayelsa Central Senatorial District from 2019 to 2020 in the 9th National Assembly. In the upcoming election, he is running for re-election to a second term, amidst controversies of violence in the build-up to the election day in the state.

 

In Kogi state, there are 18 candidates, of which seventeen are men and one woman. Among the candidates are Leke Abejide (ADC), Dino Melaye (PDP), Malam Ahmed Ododo (APC), Idoko Ilona (APGA), and Suleiman Fatima (ZLP). Yahaya Adoza Bello is the incumbent governor of the state. He has served since 2016. A member of the All Progressive Congress, Bello is known to be the youngest governor in Nigeria throughout his term in office.

 

In Imo state, there are seventeen political parties with seventeen candidates on the ballot. Candidates include Odunzeh Ben (NNPP), Achonu Nneji (LP) (PWD), Anyanwu Samuel (PDP), and Hope Uzodimmma (APC).  The incumbent, Hope Odidika Uzodimma, a former Senator for Orlu (Imo West) and a member of the All Progressive Congress. He has served as governor of Imo State since 2020. He was declared the winner of the 2019 Governorship poll after the Supreme Court of Nigeria nullified the election of the then-incumbent governor Emeka Ihedioha. He is on the ballot to contest his second term in the election.

 

 

 

 

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