The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has disclosed that Godswill Akpabio, minister of Niger Delta affairs who had earlier pulled out — cannot not be replaced in the reruns.
Mahmood Yakubu, INEC chairman, said this is because the reruns are court-ordered and the deadline for political parties to nominate their candidates have elapsed.
Chris Ekpeyong of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had defeated Akpabio of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the February election.
The Cable reports that a court later ordered a rerun following Akpabio’s appeal but he had already taken oath of office as minister.
In a letter addressed to Adams Oshiomhole, national chairman of the APC, Akpabio asked the party to nominate another candidate to replace him in the rerun.
But speaking when two new resident electoral commissioners were sworn in, in Abuja on Tuesday, Yakubu said political parties can no longer nominate candidates for the polls.
“In all the constituencies, the elections will be contested by the same political parties and candidates that participated in the 2019 general election except where the elections were nullified on grounds of candidate disqualification,” he said.
“There will be no substitution of candidates as these are not bye-elections but court-ordered re-run elections and the period for nomination of candidates had lapsed since the end of 2018 in preparation for the 2019 general election.”
He also said the rerun will take place in 28 constituencies across 11 states, six of which will involve the whole constituencies, while 22 will be held only in some polling units.
“I wish to assure Nigerians that the commission is ready for the re-run elections. All sensitive and non-sensitive materials have been deployed to the states, stakeholders’ meetings have been held, security arrangements are being finalised while training and posting of ad hoc staff as well as the configuration of smart card readers are ongoing,” he added.