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Early campaigning is a threat to Nigeria’s democracy – INEC

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Early campaigning is a threat to Nigeria’s democracy – INEC

by Paul Osas

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has issued a ban, which is coming six months after a letter was written to all political parties in January to desist from any form of campaigning towards the 2015 general elections.

In the last few months, there have been posters of various politicians allegedly vying for positions under various parties including the yet to be registered APC in major cities across the country ahead of 2015 elections. While most of the politicians claim that they have no hand in putting up the posters, INEC is unimpressed.

The electoral body said that those actions are heating up the polity and that threatened that violators of the Electoral Act would henceforth be arrested by security agencies.

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According to INEC in a statement by Kayode Idowu, its chief press secretary: “The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has observed that some politicians and registered political parties have begun unbridled campaign towards the forthcoming general election, thereby heating up the polity.

“It is observed that campaign posters are being indiscriminately displayed, while electioneering broadcasts are being aired outside the statutory provision for campaigning towards elections into various elective offices. This trend is unhealthy and portends ill for the political process. Indeed, it is a threat to Nigeria’s democracy.

“The Commission hereby reminds all players of the provision of Section 99(1) of the Electoral Act 2010 (As Amended), which states as follows:

“For the purpose of this Act, the period of campaigning in public by every political party shall commence 90 days before polling day and end 24 hours prior to that day.

“Political parties are advised to note that campaigning outside this provision is a violation of the law, and the Commission will not hesitate to apply appropriate sanctions against culprits as provided by relevant sections of the law.

“Meanwhile, INEC calls on security agents to apprehend violators, whose activities in this regard pose a threat to public order.

“The Commission enjoins all parties to play strictly by the rules, as part of a collective effort to ensure the success of the 2015 elections.”

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