The electioneering campaigns for the 2023 presidential and National Assembly general elections kick-started on Wednesday, September 28, across the states of Nigeria.
In accordance with Section 94(1) of the Electoral Act 2022, the campaign in public by all political parties “commences 150 days before polling day and ends 24 hours prior to that day”.
In an already charged and frenzied political atmosphere and extremely polarized nation, it is expected that drums for the elections will sound louder than witnessed in previous polls as Nigerians become more conscious of the happenings in their political environment, especially in the last few months.
INEC had on Monday read the rules of engagement to political parties for the campaigns in accordance with the 2022 Electoral Act.
Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, advised political parties to study and pay attention to the provisions of the Constitution, the Electoral Act, the Police Act, and the Public Order Act for the proper and peaceful conduct of political campaigns, rallies, and processions.
Yakubu also reminded the parties that their campaigns and slogans must not be tainted with “abusive language directly or indirectly, which are likely going to injure religious, ethnic, tribal or sectional feelings”.
The INEC boss who sounded the note of warning at the opening of a two-day Capacity building workshop on the Commission’s Processes, Preparations for the 2023 General Election, and Critical Issues in the Electoral Act 2022 for INEC Press Corps, held in Lagos, cautioned that “abusive, intemperate, slanderous or base language or innuendoes designed or likely to provoke violent reactions or emotions must not be employed or used in political campaigns”.
Represented by INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, Yakubu charged the media to exercise their constitutional responsibility and hold the political parties to task, ensuring they uphold the guidelines and provisions of the Electoral Act as it relates to the coming elections.