The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that it will disqualify ‘underage candidates’ in the November 16 2019 Bayelsa and Kogi States gubernatorial election.
The commission has expressed its resolve to publish the personal details of all candidates in the poll.
In a statement obtained from its Twitter handle on Thursday, some of the nominated candidates fall below the age limit allowed by the Electoral Act.
The statement signed by INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye said the particulars of all candidates would be published on the notice boards in its offices in both states on Friday.
“Under the “Not Too Young to Run Act”, candidates standing for governorship elections are expected to have attained the age of 30”, he said.
But the Commission said its preliminary review of candidates’ particulars showed a breach of the law, as most of the candidates fall below age 30.
“The publication of the personal particulars of nominees is for members of the public to make any claims and objections regarding these candidates, as required by law.
“Similarly, the Commission has observed from a preliminary review of the list and personal particulars submitted by the political parties that some of the Governorship and Deputy-Governorship candidates are below the minimum age prescribed by the Constitution for these positions”, the statement added.
Although, INEC has no legal power to disqualify candidates legitimately forwarded to it by political parties, the electoral umpire said it would notify concerned parties and as well consider further action.
“The Commission will notify the concerned parties soon and subsequently consider further action”, the statement said.
The statement added; “in accordance with the Electoral Act and in line with the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the Bayelsa State and Kogi State Governorship elections, the Commission will on Friday 13th September 2019 publish the personal particulars of nominated candidates for the elections.
“The personal particulars of the nominees will be published on the notice boards of our offices in Yenagoa and Lokoja.
“As required by law, the Commission monitored the primaries of the political parties and the list of aspirants who emerged has since been published on our website and other platforms.
“From our records, 64 political parties conducted primaries in Bayelsa State as against 59 in Kogi State. Out of these, 52 political parties for Bayelsa State and 49 for Kogi state respectively submitted the list of candidates and their personal particulars at the close of nomination at 6pm on Monday 9th September 2019.
“While some of the political parties that conducted primaries did not submit any list and personal particulars of candidates, a few failed to submit within the time limit prescribed by the Commission.
“Out of the 101 nominees for the two States, 91 are male, representing 90 per cent, while 10 are female, representing 10 per cent of all the nominees. Of the 52 nominees for Bayelsa State, 6 are female, while 46 are male.
“The corresponding figures for Kogi State are 4 female and 45 male nominees.
“As we continue to prepare for the Bayelsa and Kogi Governorship elections scheduled for Saturday 16th November 2019, the Commission once more reminds the political parties of the timelines in the Timetable and Schedule of Activities and requests strict compliance with them.
“We look forward to working with the parties and all stakeholders to make the forthcoming elections in the two States free, fair and credible”.