As the campaign for election kicks off, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has warned against any contravention of the Electoral Act and its election regulations, vowing to strictly monitor campaigns by political parties.
The Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this Wednesday during a meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.
He told them that the campaign for the 2019 presidential election officially commenced on Sunday, November 18, 2018 as provided for by the Electoral Act, in line with the commission’s timetable and schedules of activities, urging them to ensure strict compliance with the extant rules guiding the election.
“The commission is committed to closely monitor the campaigns pursuant to our statutory mandate and to ensure compliance with the extant laws and regulations,” he said.
Continuing Yakubu said, “We are pleased that the focus in the last few days, since the commencement of the campaigns has been on policies rather than personalities. We sincerely hope it remains this way.”
Multiple sections of the electoral law regulate the conduct of campaign by political parties and politicians, who are enjoined to keep the polity safe from injurious statements.
Specifically, Section 95 of the Electoral Act (2010) prohibits certain conduct at political campaigns, with subsection (1) saying that “no political campaign or slogan shall be tainted with abusive language directly or indirectly likely to injure religious, ethnic, tribal or sectional feelings.’’
Subsection 2 of the section is more emphatic, “Abusive intemperate, slanderous or base language or insinuations or innuendoes, designed or likely to provoke violent reactions or emotions shall not be employed or used in political campaigns,” while subsection (3) says, “Places designated for religious worship, police station, and public offices shall not be used for political campaigns, rallies and processions; or to promote, propagate or attack political parties, candidates or their programmes or ideologies.”