The Independent National Electoral Commission has postponed the conduct of senatorial election in Enugu East following the death of the Labour Party candidate, Oyibo Chukwu.
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu stated this on Friday at the INEC media briefing in Abuja.
According to Yakubu, the election would now hold alongside the governorship polls on March 11.
Chukwu was killed and set ablaze at Amechi Awkunanaw in Enugu South Local Government Area on Wednesday after gunmen opened fire on his convoy killing him and his personal assistant.
The INEC Chairman said the Labour Party has communicated the death of its candidate, adding that the party also conveyed its intention to participate in the election for that constituency by replacing its deceased candidate which is in line with Section 34 (1) of the Electoral Act.
He explained “The second issue is the unfortunate incident involving the candidate of the Labour Party in Enugu State. I can confirm that we have now received a formal communication from the party informing the Commission of the death of its candidate for Enugu East Senatorial District. The party also conveyed its intention to participate in the election for that constituency by replacing its deceased candidate.
“This request is in line with the provision of the law. For clarity, I wish to quote verbatim the provision of Section 34(1) of the Electoral Act 2022 as follows:
If, after the time for the delivery of nomination paper and before the commencement of the poll, a nominated candidate dies, the Chief National Electoral Commissioner shall, being satisfied of the fact of the death, countermand the poll in which the deceased candidate was to participate and the Commission shall appoint some other convenient date for the election within 14 days.
“The Labour Party has provided satisfactory evidence of the death of its candidate. Consequently, the Commission has suspended the election in the senatorial district as provided by Law.”
The INEC Chairman added that “We have already communicated this decision to our Enugu State office. Therefore, there will be no senatorial election in Enugu East Senatorial District made up of six Local Government Areas, 77 Wards and 1,630 Polling Units.
“The election will now be combined with the Governorship and State Assembly elections holding in the next two weeks on 11th March 2023.
“Materials already delivered for the senatorial election will remain in the custody of the Central Bank in the State until the new date for election.”