The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has disqualified 14 underage candidates in the upcoming Bayelsa and Kogi governorship elections.
According to a statement released on Friday by Festus Okoye, INEC commissioner for information and voter education committee, six underaged were discovered in Bayelsa while Kogi had eight.
According to an earlier report, some of the governorship and deputy governorship candidates are below the 35 years of age provided for by the 1999 constitution.
A total of 52 political parties submitted the list of their governorship and deputy governorship candidates for the Bayelsa election while 49 submitted candidates in Kogi.
He also said a total of 68 candidates have been cleared to participate in the elections — 45 in Bayelsa and 23 in Kogi.
According to the commissioner, some parties had written the commission admitting their error and requesting to submit new nominees but this was after the deadline for submission.
“As such the Commission could not accept any fresh nominations. In like manner, since the parties did not submit valid nominations before the deadline, they cannot substitute the candidates on the grounds of death or voluntary withdrawal, in accordance with the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), which assumes the prior existence of valid nominations.
“At the close of the time stipulated by sections 31, 33 and 35 of Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) for the submission of the names of nominated candidates, 49 nominations were received for Kogi State.
“Out of these, 41 nominations were valid, while 8 were invalid. Subsequently, 18 political parties withdrew from contesting the elections. Therefore, 23 political parties will contest the Governorship election in Kogi State.
“For Bayelsa State, a total of 52 nominations were received. Out of these, 46 were valid, while 6 were invalid. One political party has since withdrawn from the contest, leaving a total of 45 political parties to contest the governorship election in Bayelsa State.”
He said INEC will publish the names and addresses of qualified candidates on Monday.