The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced that the Edo State Governorship election would take place on September 21, 2024, while that of Ondo State would hold on Saturday 16th November 2024.
The National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, INEC, Sam Olumekun, in a statement issued on Tuesday, explained that the release of time table and schedule of activities became imperative considering the fact that the tenure of the governors of Edo and Ondo States would end on 11th November, 2024 and 23rd February, 2025 respectively.
The commission said as provided in Section 178 (2) of the Constitution, election into the said offices shall hold not earlier than 150 days and not later than 30 days before the expiration of the tenure of the last holder of the office.
It added, “The latest date for Election to the office of Governor, Edo State, is 12th October 2024 while that of Ondo State is 24th January 2025. Similarly, Section 28(1) of the Electoral Act, 2022 requires the Commission to publish Notice for the Election not later than 360 days before the date of the election.”
To this end, the commission said the Edo state governorship election “will hold on Saturday, 21st September, 2024.”
The commission revealed that party primaries would hold from 1st – 24th February 2024; while the submission of the list of nominated candidates via the online portal would start at 9.00am on 4th March 2024 and close at 6.00pm on 24th March 2024.
The commission noted that the final list of candidates would be published on 23rd April 2024, while campaigning in public by the political parties would commence on 24th April 2024 and would end 24 hours prior to election day on 19th September 2024.
Furthermore, INEC Stressed that the Ondo governorship election would be held “on Saturday 16th November 2024.”
It added party primaries would start from 6th – 27th April 2024, while the submission of the list of nominated candidates via the online portal would start at 9.00am on 29th April 2024 and close at 6.00pm on 20th May 2024.
It noted that the final list of candidates would be published on 18th June 2024, while campaign in public by political parties commences on 19th June 2024 and ends 24 hours prior to election day on 14th November 2024.
The commission revealed that a detailed timetable and schedule of Activities for the two elections have been uploaded to the Commission’s website and social media platforms. It, therefore, urged the political parties and candidates to note the activities in the timetable for strict compliance.
INEC Chairman Seeks Improved Relationship with Media to Enhance Electoral Process
Meanwhile, INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmud Yakubu, has stressed the need to strengthen the partnership between the electoral body and media organisations in order to ensure that members of the public are adequately sensitised about activities of the Commission before, during and after elections.
Yakubu, who was represented by the National Commissioner and Member, Information and Voter Education Committee INEC, Prof. Kunle Ajayi, made this call while declaring open a one -day engagement with media executives in Lokoja, on Tuesday.
He stated that the media was critical to stakeholders in the electoral process.
He explained that journalists played important roles by reporting all the processes before, during and after elections and are expected to give accurate facts.
“Basically we cannot, in truth and in fact, communicate what we do not know or understand. We must read and have basic understanding of the constitutive, constitutional and legal instrument underpinning the work of the Commission.
“We must understand the powers and the duties of the Commission as spelt out in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended); the Electoral Act, 2022, the Rules, Regulations, Guidelines and Manuals of the Commission made in pursuant to the powers conferred on it by the Constitution and various laws.
“The journalists must be versatile in the area of coverage and can no longer be jack of all trades.”
According to him, “a Journalist that is ignorant of the basic duties and functions of the Commission and insists that he or she is an expert on the electoral process is a danger to the electoral process and therefore a danger to the nation.”
While appealing to the media practitioners, the Chief Press Secretary to the National Chairman of INEC, Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, urged journalists covering the election to find facts, stressing that the social media was already posing threat to the traditional media .
Oyekanmi lamented that the citizen journalists were far from telling the truth of facts, stressing that they do not bother to verify information before putting their stories on social media platforms.
“Let us focus on facts. There are laws guiding what we are doing at INEC. There are fake news everywhere simply because some Nigerians are already abusing freedom of speech.
“We need to focus on facts. We must strive hard to preserve Nigeria and not to destroy it,” he stressed.
He therefore tasked the traditional media to harp on objective reporting to checkmate those he described as the untrained citizen journalists .
Earlier, the Kogi State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Gabriel Longpet, commended media organisations in Kogi State for partnering with the Independent National Electoral Commission to sensitise the public about its activities.
Longpet, said INEC was well prepared and ready for the conduct of the election devoid of any rancour for the growth and development of Kogi.
Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja and Ibrahim Oyewale in Lokoja