As actors in the political theatre prepare for the commencement of campaign for the 2023 elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has sent an admonition to the 18 registered political parties fielding candidates for the general elections.
The commission is admonishing the parties and their candidates to refrain from any form of abusive words or hate speeches capable of hampering the success of the elections.
The Chairman of the commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, gave the warning on Monday in Lagos at the ongoing two-day media capacity building workshop on the commission’s progress, innovations, preparations for the 2023 general elections and critical issues in the Electoral Act 2022.
The event was organised by the INEC, European Union (EU) and DAI.
The warning was coming ahead of Wednesday’s formal commencement of campaign activities by the parties.
Prof. Yakubu represented by the National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee of INEC, Festus Okoye, specifically urged all the registered parties to critically study and pay attention to the provisions of the Constitution, Electoral Act, Police Act and Public Order Act for proper and peaceful conduct of political campaigns, rallies and processions.
He also charged the media on equal coverage and visibility to all political parties.
“A political campaign or slogan shall not be tainted with abusive language directly or indirectly likely to injure religious, ethnic, tribal or sectional feelings. Abusive, intemperate, slanderous or base language or innuendoes designed or likely to provoke violent reactions or emotions shall not be employed or used in political campaigns.
“Let me also remind the media of their constitutional and legal obligations. State apparatus including the media shall not be employed to the advantage or disadvantage of any political party or candidate at any election. In other words, equal coverage and visibility shall be allotted to all political parties by all public print and electronic media organisations.
“The same applies in equal measure to privately owned media organisations subject to payment of appropriate fees,” Yakubu said.
The INEC boss said that the commission had entered a critical phase in the electoral process, as it had undertaken eight out of the 14 items on the Calendar and Schedule of Activities for the 2023 General Election.