By Daniel Tyokua
Tension is rising in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, among the major political parties as Independent National Electoral Commission fixes February 12, 2022 for the six Area Councils’ poll. Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had on March 31, fixed February 12, 2022, for elections into the six area councils of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
FCT is the only part of the country where INEC is responsible for the conduct of the Local Council election. Feelers in APC and PDP who don’t want their names mentioned, said consultation for selection of aspirants was ongoing when INEC releases the timetable.
Check by The AUTHORITY shows that there were moves by some party big wings for the electoral umpire to change the released timeble, but the commission said it action was guided by the electoral law.
The Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, in a statement disclosed that the three-year tenure of the six chairmen and 62 councillors would expire in May 2022.
“By virtue of Section 108(1) and (3) and 113(1)(a) and (b) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), election into all area councils shall be held on the same date and time throughout the FCT. This shall take place, not before 150 days and not later than 30 days to the expiration of the term of office of the last holder of that office.
“Further, by virtue of Section 113 of the Electoral Act, an area council shall stand dissolved at the expiration of a three-year period, starting from the date the chairman took the Oath of Office, or when the legislative arm of the council was inaugurated, whichever is earlier,” he stated.
Okoye noted that the chairmen and councillors of the area councils were elected on March 9, 2019, and sworn in on May 19, 2019, adding that by paragraph 1(c) of the Commission’s Guidelines and Regulations, “where the end of the tenure of FCT Area Council does not coincide with a general election year, the election to the office of the chairman, vice-chairman and councillors of the area councils shall hold on Saturday closest to 100 days to the end of the tenure of the elected officials of the area councils.”
He said the commission was concerned about the spate of acrimonious primaries, as well as the nomination of unqualified candidates, which resulted in avoidable litigations, and the nullification of elections by tribunals.