INEC Lists Do’s & Dont’s As Campaigns Starts Tomorrow | READ DETAILS

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INEC Lists Do’s & Dont’s As Campaigns Starts Tomorrow | READ DETAILS

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), says campaigns for presidential and National Assembly election will commence officially on Wednesday, September 2022.

According to INEC, Governorship and State House of Assembly campaigns will begin October 12, 2022, in preparation for the 2023 general elections.

Presidential and National Assembly elections will hold on Saturday February 25, 2023, while the Governorship and State Assembly elections will hold on Saturday March 11, 2023.

In his remark during a sensitisation forum for broadcasters and stakeholders on fair and responsible coverage of the 2023 general election organized by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) at the NAF Conference centre in Jabi, Abuja on Monday, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, the National Chairman INEC, listed some guidelines for the campaigns.

His remarks read in parts;

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The 2023 General Election will be taking place against the background of the new Electoral Act 2022. As you are aware, the new law is a repeal and re-enactment of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) which governed the conduct of three general elections (2011, 2015 and 2019).

However, the forthcoming 2023 General Election is the first time that many aspects of the Electoral Act 2022 will be implemented in a nationwide election.

Political parties, candidates and their supporters as well as the media have a responsibility to operate within the confines of the law and the provisions of the Commission’s rules and regulations. Issue-based campaign is essential for safe electioneering. In turn, this will create the atmosphere for the successful deployment and conduct of all electoral activities.

Campaigns should be devoid of hate speech; abusive, intemperate, or slanderous language; insinuations or innuendoes likely to provoke violent reaction; physical attack on supporters of one party by another or destruction of campaign materials etc.

More specifically, Section 95 of the Electoral Act 2022 defines the responsibilities of political parties and candidates, the media and public institutions. It also provides sanctions for violations.

For instance, in the course of our numerous interactions with political parties over the years, many have complained about the denial of access to public facilities for meetings and rallies, exorbitant charges for signages and billboards, and equal access to State media.

Using the power of incumbency to deny opposition parties access to public facilities is illegal. Section 95 Subsections 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 are unambiguous and worth quoting verbatim as follows:

95(2) “State apparatus including the media shall not be employed to the advantage or disadvantage of any political party or candidate at any election.”

95(3) “Media time shall be allocated equally among the political parties and candidates at similar hours of the day.”

95(4) “At any public electronic media, equal airtime shall be allotted to all political parties or candidates during prime times at similar hours each day, subject to the payment of appropriate fees.”

95(5) “At any public print media, equal coverage and visibility shall be allotted to all political parties.”

7. Failure to comply with the provisions of the law attracts sanctions against both the media organisation and its principal officers as clearly provided for in Section 95(6) as follows:

95(6) “A person who contravenes subsections (3) and (4) commits an offence and is liable on conviction, in the case of –

(a) a public media, to a fine of N2,000,000 in the first instance and N5,000,000 for subsequent conviction; and

(b) principal officers and other officers of the media house, to a fine of N1,000,000 or imprisonment for a term of six months.”

Equitable access to the media for all political parties and candidates is essential to the promotion of issue-based campaigns.

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