Tenures of six Chairmen, 62 Councillors of FCT Area Councils ends in 2026 – INEC

0
98

By Joy Odor

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has on Friday affirmed that the tenures of the six Chairmen as well as the 62 Councillors of the Federal Capital Territory, (FCT) will end in June of 2026.

The NEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu who disclosed this at a meeting with the leadership of the Inter-Party Advisory Council, (IPAC) in Abuja informed that Nigerians are aware that the National Assembly has since repealed and re-enacted the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) as the Electoral Act 2022.

According to him, 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.

Prof Yakubu said the 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.

“The commission had earlier received inquiries from some law firms, an individual, a political party and one FCT Chairmanship Aspirants’ Forum on whether their tenures were to elapse after 3 years as provided by the Electoral Act 2010, and a demand for the commission to release the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the Area Council elections.

“Their inquiries were based on the provision of the Electoral Act 2010 which was the subsisting law at the time elections to the Area Councils were held on Saturday 12th February 2022.

“The Electoral Act 2010, which has been amended, provides for a three-year tenure for chairmen and councillors which expires next year.

“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 executive, the tenure belongs to the elected individual while for legislators, the tenure belongs to the legislature.

“A President/Vice President-elect, Governor/Deputy Governor-elect, Senator-elect, Member-elect, Chairman-elect or Councillor-elect cannot exercise the powers of office and draw from the remunerations attached to it until such a person is sworn-in or the legislative house is inaugurated.

“To further illustrate this position, the Commission has since released the Timetable for the 2024 Edo and Ondo State Governorship elections. This does not mean that whoever wins the election in Edo State in September or in Ondo State in November will immediately assume office.

“This will only take place after the administration of the oath of office upon the expiration of the tenure of the incumbent holders of the offices. Elections are only held earlier in order to a avoid vacuum.

“That is why the Constitution empowers the Commission to hold elections not earlier than 150 days and not later than 30 days before the end of tenure of incumbent holders of elective offices,” he said.

Citing Section 108(1) of the Electoral Act 2022 under which the current Chairmen and Councillors of the six area councils in FCT were sworn-in on 14th June 2022, he noted that the law is clear and therefore unambiguous.

“(1) An Area Council shall stand dissolved at the expiration of 4 years commencing from the date –

(a) when the Chairman took the oath of office; or

(b) when the legislative arm of the Council was inaugurated whichever is earlier,).

“Again, there are several judicial authorities, including the judgement of the Supreme Court, that tenure begins from the date of oath of office and not the date of election,” he said.

The INEC Chairman charged all persons with ambition to contest for the positions of chairmen and councillors in the FCT to be guided by the provisions of the law and judicial pronouncements on the issue of tenure.

He also appealed to political parties to enlighten their members accordingly, adding that at the appropriate time, the commission will release the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the election.

Leave a Reply