Why we can’t conduct council elections next year — INEC

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has urged political parties and stakeholders to adhere to the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 (As Amended) concerning the tenure of Area Council Chairmen in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), emphasizing that the Act now mandates a four-year tenure for both Chairmen and Councillors.

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INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, made this clarification during a meeting with the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) in Abuja on Friday.

Yakubu disclosed that the current tenure of the Area Council Chairmen and Councillors will conclude in June 2026, in accordance with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022. He explained that the Commission had received inquiries from various stakeholders, including law firms, individuals, a political party, and an aspirants’ forum regarding the tenure duration and the election timetable.

He highlighted that the Electoral Act 2022, which came into effect on February 25, 2022, extended the tenure from the previous three years to four years for FCT Area Council Chairmen and Councillors. This extension aligns their tenure with that of executive and legislative offices nationwide.

Addressing concerns raised, Yakubu clarified, “Tenure is defined not by the date of election but by the date of the Oath of Office for executives or the inauguration for legislative bodies.” He cited legal precedents and judicial pronouncements affirming this interpretation.

Yakubu reassured stakeholders of INEC’s commitment to upholding electoral integrity and releasing the election timetable in compliance with statutory requirements. He commended the stability of tenure in the FCT Area Councils, noting that democratic elections have been consistently conducted without the need for caretaker committees.

In conclusion, Yakubu urged aspiring candidates and political parties to familiarize themselves with the electoral laws and judicial decisions governing tenure in the FCT. He pledged INEC’s readiness to provide further guidance and release the election timetable in due course.

Earlier, IPAC National Chairman, Yusuf Mohammed Dantalle, had sought clarification on the tenure issue, underscoring the importance of aligning with legal provisions to ensure smooth electoral processes in the FCT.

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