The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said that it would not tolerate any act of violence or hooliganism in the Presidential and National Assembly campaigns due to start Wednesday nationwide.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Ebonyi, Dr Joseph Chukwu, stated this at a meeting with chairmen and leaders of the 18 registered political parties at the commission’s state secretariat Tuesday in Abakaliki.
He urged the political parties to ensure that their campaigns complied with the rules and regulations guiding the campaign period.
He stated that candidates in the election should guard against using foul language during their campaigns, adding that political parties must adhere to financing regulations and limits.
He stated that governorship and state House of Assembly campaigns would not commence on Wednesday but on October 12.
He warned political parties not to allow their candidates for the governorship and state houses of assembly elections to embark on political campaigns.
He called on political parties to strictly adhere to part 5, section 92 of the 2022 Electoral Act.
The law reads in part: “A political campaign or slogan shall not be tainted with abusive language directly or indirectly likely to injure religious, ethnic, tribal or sectional feelings.
“Shall not use abusive, intenperament, slanderous or base language, insinuations, or innuendoes designed or likely to provoke violent reactions or emotions during political campaigns.
” Masquerades shall not be employed or used by any political party, aspirant or candidate during political campaigns.
“Places designated for religious worships, police stations and public offices shall not be used for campaigns, rallies, processions or to promote, propagate or attack political parties, candidates or their programmes and ideologies.”
The REC admonished the party leaders to ensure that their political parties, and their national assembly and presidential candidates run issue-based campaigns.
He said that the commission would sanction political parties that contravened any section of the Electoral Act.
“I wish to further urge you to warn your members, candidates and their supporters against indulging in other activities that are likely to instigate violence during campaigns by political parties.
” Such actions include destruction and or defacing campaign billboards and posters of candidates and denial of political parties access to public facilities for rallies.
“Scheduling of political rallies by two or more political parties the same day at the same venue close to each other,” he added.
Chukwu further warned that nobody whose name did not appear in the list of candidates released recently by the commission should be seen campaigning as a candidate in any part of the state.
“This is Ebonyi and all of us are brothers and sisters; we assure you of a credible, free, fair, transparent and all-inclusive election in the state in 2023,” the REC said.
Some of the participants at the event included: Jennifer Adibe, chairman of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), Solomon Chukwu of the New Nigerian People’s Party (NNPP) and Unya Onyekach (APGA), described the meeting as timely.
They, on behalf of the other participants pledged to take the advice of the commission for peaceful conduct during the political campaigns back to their candidates and supporters and urged the electoral body to ensure peaceful conduct of the 2023 general elections in Ebonyi.