BY-ELECTIONS: IGP restricts movement in Lagos, 25 others tomorrow

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  • Tension as INEC excludes PDP from Plateau rerun elections

  • Election umpire takes delivery of sensitive materials in Lagos

  • Four candidates step down for APC in Kaduna

The Inspector General of Police, Olukayode Egbetokun, has ordered restriction of all forms of vehicular movement on roads, waterways, and other forms of transportation from 12 am to 6 pm in 26 states holding by-elections on Saturday.

This is with the exclusion of those on essential duties such as officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission, election observers, accredited journalists, ambulances responding to medical emergencies, and firefighters among others.

The affected states are Ebonyi, Yobe, Kebbi, Lagos, Ondo, Taraba, Benue, Borno, Kaduna, Plateau and Akwa Ibom.

Others are Anambra, Cross River, Delta, Enugu, Jigawa, Katsina, Adamawa, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Kano, Nasarawa, Niger, Oyo, Sokoto, and Zamfara.

In Lagos, by-election will be held in Surulere 1 Federal Constituency after the seat became vacant following the appointment of former Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, who represented the constituency before he was appointed the Chief of Staff to President Bola Tinubu.

The IG also ordered a ban on all security aides to VIPs and escorts from accompanying their principals and politicians to polling booths and collation centres during the election.

The Force Public Relations Officer, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, made the development known in a statement on Thursday.

Adejobi said, “The Inspector General of Police, Okukayode Egbetokun, has ordered the restriction of all forms of vehicular movement on roads, waterways, and other forms of transportation from 12 am to 6 pm on election day in all states where elections will be conducted.

“With the exception of those on essential services such as INEC officials, electoral observers, accredited media and observers both foreign and domestic, ambulances responding to medical emergencies, firefighters, etc., during the upcoming 2024 run-off and by-elections scheduled to take place across 26 states on Saturday, February 3, 2024.”

Adejobi added that state-established and owned security outfits and organisations, quasi-security units, and privately owned guard and security outfits are also barred from participating in election security management.

He added, “The movement restrictions, including the ban on VIP aides, escorts, and state security outfits, are crucial measures aimed at preventing any undue interference or intimidation during the electoral process. The IG emphasizes that these restrictions are implemented to safeguard the integrity of the elections and guarantee equal participation for all citizens of the affected states.

“The IG urges political parties, candidates, and their supporters to conduct themselves responsibly and in accordance with the electoral laws, as any attempt to disrupt the electoral process or violate the established guidelines will be met with the full force of the law.”

Adejobi encouraged citizens to report any suspicious activities or incidents that may undermine the electoral process to the appropriate authorities.

He quoted the IG as expressing the confidence that, through collective efforts, the upcoming run-off and bye-elections will be conducted peacefully, transparently, and in line with the principles of democracy.

Tension as INEC excludes PDP from Plateau rerun elections

Meanwhile, the People’s Democratic Party has been excluded on the ballot papers for the rerun elections for the Plateau North senatorial seat and Bassa/Jos North federal constituency billed for Saturday.

Reacting to the exclusion, the Intra-Party Advisory Council in Plateau rejected the decision by the Independent National Electoral Commission.

According to IPAC, the exclusion of the opposition party is unreasonable and unacceptable.

The rerun elections were billed for six local government areas, which include Bassa, Barkin-Ladi, Jos North, Jos South, Jos East, and Riyom, respectively.

On Wednesday, January 31, the PDP and its supporters in Plateau State staged a protest at the headquarters of the INEC over rumours of its exclusion from the re-run election.

The PDP and its candidates would not be part of the elections following a judgement by the Court of Appeal which nullified the elections in the two constituencies earlier won by the party’s candidates.

The candidates are Senator Simon Mwadkwon for Plateau North and Musa Agah, for Jos North/Bassa Federal Constituency.

According to the Court of Appeal, the nullification of their elections was because the PDP, which nominated them, had no executive structure in the state.

INEC takes delivery of sensitive materials in Lagos

In a related development, INEC in Lagos State on Thursday took delivery of sensitive materials for Saturday’s Surulere Federal Constituency I by-election from the Central Bank of Nigeria.

INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Prof. Ayobami Salami, told newsmen that the commission was fully prepared for the election.

Salami said, “We have taken delivery of the sensitive materials today. We are in the last phase of the process of the by-election.

“We have taken the ballot papers and the results sheet for Saturday’s by-election. It is clear to everyone that we are ready for the election.”

He said that the commission had invited representatives of political parties and security agencies to witness the exercise for openness.

The state REC stated that the sensitive materials are secure and intact for every stakeholder to see the transparency of the commission.

Salami, who noted that INEC was ready to conduct free, fair and credible elections on Saturday, called for the cooperation and support of stakeholders.

He noted that the onward distribution of the materials from the state headquarters to the six wards and 258 polling units that make up the Surulere Federal Constituency I would begin on Friday (today).

A total of 12 candidates of different political parties will be contesting in the February 3 election.

The seat became vacant due to the resignation of the former occupant, Femi Gbajabiamila, who after winning, was appointed by President Bola Tinubu as his Chief of Staff.

Four candidates step down for APC in Kaduna

Also, ahead of the by-election for Chikun Constituency of the Kaduna State House of Assembly, four candidates have stepped down for the All Progressives Congress candidate, Jesse Tanko.

The four candidates are Zipporah Bijeh of the Accord Party, David Sunday, Zenith Labour Party; Idris Inuwa, Social Democratic Party; and David Batholomew of the All Progressives Grand Alliance.

The SDP candidate, Inuwa, who spoke on behalf of the four candidates, disclosed the step down to newsmen in Kaduna on Thursday.

Inuwa attributed the development to the state governor’s leadership qualities and the ease of lobbying and subsequent actualisation of projects to benefit the residents.

Inuwa said, “In view of the sterling leadership qualities so far expressed by Governor Uba Sani in Kaduna State, we are of the conviction that with the APC at the State House of Assembly, lobbying for projects and other things that will benefit our people will be easier to get, hence our coming together to support the APC candidate to victory in the coming election on Saturday.

“We entered the contest to represent Chikun, for our people to enjoy the dividends of democracy and among the candidates; we believe the APC candidate can do that.

“So we felt the need to support him to win the election. Governor Uba Sani has so far demonstrated an unparalleled commitment to developing the state and carrying everyone along. We need a House member to be in the same political party as the governor for easy enjoyment of the dividends of democracy in our constituency.”