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2023: Abusive language not allowed during campaigns

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has cautioned politicians and political parties to avoid using provocative and abusive words during campaigns.

Alhaji Abdullahi Ibrahim-Umar, the Head of the Commission’s Election and Party Monitoring (EPM) gave the caution at a stakeholders forum on Friday in Katsina State.

According to the INEC official, political campaigns should be conducted in a peaceful, orderly and matured manner.

He explained further that, “Electoral Act 2022 section 92 (1-6) stipulates how political campaign should be conducted.

He said the law provided that “a political campaign or slogan shall not be tainted with abusive language directly or indirectly, especially such is likely to injure religious, ethnic, tribal or sectional feelings.

“Also, Electoral Act 2022 section 92 (1) says political campaigns, rallies and processions should not be conducted in places designated for religious worship, police stations, and other public offices.”

Ibrahim-Umar warned further that political campaigns should also not promote, propagate or attack political parties, candidates, their programmes or ideologies.

“Political parties and contestants need to internalise what constitutes campaign regulations or restrictions as contained in the Electoral Act 2022, to avoid committing an offence that is liable to conviction to fine, imprisonment, or both.

“As the saying goes, ‘ignorance of the law is not an excuse’. Transparency in these areas boosts confidence in the election processes on the part of contestants and voters.

“This may serve to shed light on any unfair practices or potential abuses of state power where they exist.” Ibrahim-Umar said.

He said the Electoral Act directed and empowered the Commissioner of Police in each state and the FCT to provide adequate security for proper and peaceful conduct of political rallies and processions in their jurisdictions.

He said, “And for this purpose, the police may be supported by the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and any other security agency of the Federal Government.

“Therefore no registered political party in Nigeria, its aspirants or candidate shall be prevented from holding rallies, processions or meetings at any time for their constitutional political purposes.

“And also, the police shall in a consultative manner, resolve any conflict of time and venue between and amongst parties where such arises.

“A political party shall for the purpose of political rally or procession, issue in writing notice to the commissioner of police of the state, indicating the exact venue and time of the rally or procession and pledging peaceful conduct and control against violence or public nuisance.

“Political parties shall transmit to the commission, through the Electoral Officer at the Local Government Area and the Resident Electoral Commissioner at the state.

“Both should be in hard and soft copy, details of the schedule of their political rally or procession, at least 10 days to the date of the procession or rallies.”

He pointed out that the notice shall be jointly signed by the National Chairman and National Secretary of the political party for national campaign rallies and procession.

According to him, in case of state campaign and procession, the notice should be jointly signed by the state chairman and secretary of the party.

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