Home Local News INEC Clarifies Issues On Tenure of FCT Area Councils

INEC Clarifies Issues On Tenure of FCT Area Councils

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Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu has revealed that the current Area Council Chairman in the Federal Capital Territory would remain in office till 2026.

Yakubu made the clarification on Friday at a meeting with the leadership of the Inter-party Advisory Council IPAC, on the tenure of Area Councils in the Federal Capital Territory FCT.

The INEC Chairman who gave the clarification in reaction to the agitation from some quarters for the conduct of fresh elections in the FCT, noted that the tenure of office of the elected council officers begins on the date they the took oath of office and not on the date the election was conducted.

“The Commission had earlier received inquiries from some Law Firms, an individual, a political party and one FCT Chairmanship Aspirants’ Forum. In summary, all the inquiries relate to the tenure of the Area Councils and a demand for the Commission to release the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the Area Council elections.

“Their inquiries are based on the provision of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) which was the subsisting law at the time elections to the Area Councils were held on Saturday 12th February 2022. The Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) provides for a three-year tenure for Chairmen and Councillors which, in their opinion, expires next year.

The INEC boss recalled Section 108(1) of the Electoral Act 2022, which provides that an Area Council shall stand dissolved at the expiration of 4 years commencing from the date when the Chairman took the oath of office or when the legislative arm of the Council was inaugurated.

“However, Nigerians are aware that the National Assembly has since repealed and re-enacted the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) as the Electoral Act 2022. In particular, in the exercise of its powers as the law-making body for the FCT, the National Assembly extended the tenure of the Area Councils from three to four years, thereby aligning it with executive and legislative elections nationwide.

“This is one of the important provisions of the Electoral Act 2022. The Act came into force on Friday 25th February 2022, two weeks after the last Area Council elections in the FCT. By the time the elected Chairmen and Councillors were sworn-in four months later on 14th June 2022, they took their oath of allegiance and oath of office on the basis of the new electoral Act (i.e. the Electoral Act 2022) which provides for a four-year tenure. Consequently, their tenure therefore expires in June 2026.

“For the avoidance of doubt, tenure is not defined by the date of election but the date of the oath of office for executive elections or the date of inauguration for legislative houses. For the executive, the tenure belongs to the elected individual while for legislators, the tenure belongs to the Legislature”, he said.

He assured Nigerians that INEC is committed to upholding the law and the stability of tenure in the FCT, while asserting that the Commission conducts elections in a manner that doesn’t give vacuum in governance.

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