Campaigns: INEC charges political parties on regulatory compliance

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has urged political parties to adhere to the law in their campaigns for the governorship elections in Edo and Ondo States.

This is contained in a statement issued by Sam Olumekun, INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee in Abuja on Friday.

Olumekun said that the advice became imperative following publication of the final list of candidates for the governorship elections and as campaigns had begun.

“Over the years, a recurring problem in Nigeria’s electioneering process has been the use of power of incumbency to deny opposition parties and candidates’ access to public facilities for rallies and other campaign activities.

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“These include public buildings such as stadiums, open spaces in public places, total denial or restricted access to state-owned media (specifically radio and television stations);

“The imposition of excessive levies and fees for outdoor and media advertising, and even the removal or vandalism of billboards and posters.

“These actions often result in violent clashes among party supporters and a breach of public peace.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the Commission wishes to reiterate that Section 95 (2) of the Electoral Act 2022 prohibits the use of State apparatus to ‘the advantage or disadvantage of any political party or candidate at any election,” Olumekun said.

He also advised the media to comply with the provisions of the law during the campaigns.

According to him, under Section 95 (3), (4) and (5), it is obligatory for public media houses to allot equal coverage and visibility to all parties and candidates.

“Section 95 (6) provides sanctions against heads of public media organisations, their principal officers, and other officials for contravention,” he said.

He said that the publication containing the commission’s guidelines for the conduct of political rallies, processions and campaigns had been uploaded to the Commission’s website (www.inecnigeria.org).

According to him, the same document has also been uploaded to INEC social media platforms.

“Consequently, the attention of all concerned is drawn to the provisions of the law and the guidelines for strict compliance,” he said. (NAN) 

By Emmanuel Oloniruha

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