The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Friday proposed Sept 16 for the conduct of a bye-election to fill the vacant Eti-Osa Constituency I seat in the Lagos State House of Assembly. Dr Mudashiru Mustapha, INEC Administrative Secretary in Lagos State, announced the proposed date at a stakeholders meeting attended by party leaders at the Lagos headquarters of the commission. Mr Kazeem Alimi of the All Progressives Congress, who occupied the seat, died on July 18. He succumbed to a brief illness at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, two weeks after celebrating his 50th birthday.
Mustapha said the proposed date for the bye-election was chosen after taking into consideration the activities of the commission across the country and the upcoming Eid-el-Kabir holidays. He said that the commission was also guided by the Electoral Law which stipulates that the bye-election be conducted within 30 days of receiving an official notice of the death of the lawmaker. ”We officially received the notification of the death of Hon. Alimi on Wednesday. That is why we called this meeting to jointly decide on a date for a bye-election to fill the vacant position. ”We are proposing Saturday, Sept. 16. Once we agree, we notify the headquarters for final approval, after which we roll out the timetable for political parties to start preparations for the election. “We have notified security agencies, written to the National Youth Service Corps to provide us with ad hoc staff, we need to hold training and put other logistics in place to ensure a successful bye election.
”The date might not be too convenient, but I’m appealing to political parties and other stakeholders to work it out, ” he said. Some of the party leaders at the meeting expressed divergent views on the suitability of the proposed date. Rev. Solomon Orji, Lagos State Chairman, Green Party of Nigeria, appealed that the date be extended to allow political parties prepare and participate adequately in the election. ”The timing is too short to allow about 22 political parties to prepare for the bye-election. We are appealing for an extension, ” Orji said. Mr Akin Badmus, State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Movement, however, said the electoral law should be adhered to, since it stipulates that a bye-election be held within 30 days. Mr Kola Ajayi, State Chairman, Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) urged the commission to give the council 24 hours to mobilise all the political parties and discuss the proposed date.