By; MOHAMMED KAWU, Bauchi
The Independent National Electoral commission (INEC) has declared that the long awaited bye-election into Bauchi South Senatorial elections will hold next month, the 11th August, 2018.
Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in-charge of Bauchi State, Ibrahim Abdullahi gave the date for the bye-election at a stakeholders meeting held Thursday at the INEC Bauchi Office.
It would be recalled that the Bauchi South Senatorial seat became vacant following the demise of its former occupant Senator, Ali Wakili who was reportedly slumped and rushed to the National Hospital, Abuja but on reaching there he was declared dead on Saturday 17th March, 2018.
The Bauchi INEC commissioner explained that the Commission had received a letter from the Senate declaring the Bauchi South Senatorial seat vacant on the 13th July, 2018.
Alhaji Ibrahim Abdullahi said that based on the Senate’s action and in line with Section 76 (2) and 25 (2) of the electoral act, INEC is mandated to conduct a by-election to fill the vacuum within 30 days.
He disclosed that elections will be held in 445 voting points, 1, 499 polling units in 75 wards of the Seven Local Government Areas of Bauchi, Toro, Dass, Tafawa Balewa, Bogoro, Alkaleri and Kirfi that constitute the senatorial district.
Abdullahi who however said that about 70, 000 permanent voter cards are still with the commission which are yet to be collected by their owners.
He urged politicians that, “that magic you use in mobilizing people to come out during elections to vote for you, please use that same strategy to make people come out and claim the over 70, 000 PVCs yet to be collected across the Local Government areas of the state”.
He told politicians and political parties not to be deceived by the crowd that openly show them support but advised them that “some of them do not even have PVCs while some electorate will forget to pick theirs to the election.
Abdullahi told stakeholders, “So I appeal to you all to encourage all your supporters to come and collect their cards so they can use them to vote for you and your party.”
The INEC commissioner said only those who voted in the 2015 general elections and those who have collected their PVCs as at December, 2017 are the eligible voters in the Bauchi South senatorial district bye-election on August 11th, 2018.
He also revealed that the commission had improved the system of voting, explaining that there will be continuous accreditation and voting during the election whereby voters will be accredited and allowed to cast their votes immediately.
Abdullahi similarly appealed to political parties to join hands with the commission to ensure a hitch-free by-election, assuring that “INEC will be fair to all and create a free-level playing ground for all”.
The stakeholders meeting had various political parties under the aegis of the Inter-Party Advisory Council, Security Agencies and the Media.