Politics

Edo/Ondo polls: INEC warns events on misuse of incumbency energy, others

Ahead of the governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states, the Independent National Electoral Commission has issued a stern reminder to political events and candidates in regards to the authorized necessities for equitable entry to public amenities.

INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman of the Information and Voter Education Committee, Sam Olumekun issued the reminder in an announcement on Friday.

Olumekun famous that the fee has noticed a persistent situation in Nigeria’s electioneering course of: the misuse of incumbency energy to dam opposition events and candidates from utilising public amenities for marketing campaign actions.

This misuse contains proscribing entry to public buildings reminiscent of sports activities stadiums, limiting the usage of state-owned media, imposing extreme charges for promoting, and even the elimination or vandalism of marketing campaign supplies. These actions usually result in violent clashes and disrupt public peace.

“Over the years, a recurring drawback in Nigeria’s electioneering course of has been the usage of the ability of incumbency to disclaim opposition events and candidates entry to public amenities for rallies and different marketing campaign actions.

“These embrace public buildings reminiscent of sports activities stadiums, open areas in public locations, complete denial or restricted entry to state-owned media (particularly radio and tv stations), the imposition of extreme levies and charges for outside and media promoting, and even the elimination or vandalisation of billboards and posters.

“These actions often result in violent clashes among party supporters and a breach of public peace,” the nationwide commissioner mentioned.

To handle these issues, Olumekun reiterated that Section 95(2) of the Electoral Act 2022 prohibits the usage of state assets to profit or drawback any political get together or candidate.

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Sections 95(3-5) additionally mandate equal protection for all events and candidates by public media homes.

Violations of those provisions can lead to sanctions towards the heads and officers of those media organisations as outlined in Section 95(6).

“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”.

“Furthermore, under Section 95(3-5), 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 added.

Olumekun emphasised the significance of adhering to those rules, including that INEC has made tips for political rallies, processions, and campaigns on its web site and social media platforms to make sure readability and compliance.

“The Commission calls on all concerned parties to adhere strictly to these guidelines and legal provisions,” Olumekun acknowledged.

The Edo governorship election is scheduled for September 21, 2024; whereas the Ondo governorship ballot is scheduled for November 16, 2024.

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