Campaign: INEC cautions political parties on abusive, hate speech

Ahead of the formal flag-off of the campaigns of the 18 registered political parties this Wednesday, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has advised the political parties “to critically 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”.

He reminded the parties that their campaigns and slogans must not be tainted with “abusive language directly or indirectly likely to injure religious, ethnic, tribal or sectional feelings”.

Addressing the opening of a 2- 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”, which was held in Lagos, the INEC boss cautioned that “abusive, intemperate, slanderous or base language or innuendoes designed or likely to provoke violent reaction or emotions shall not be employed or used in political campaigns”.

Represented by the INEC National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Barrister Festus Okoye, Prof. 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 upcoming elections.

He said the media has a critical role to play in the overall success of the election and reassured that INEC will deploy technology to give Nigerians full experience of electoral justice.

Earlier in his welcome address, Lagos State Resident Electoral Commissioner ( REC) and host of the event, Segun Agbaje, declared that the media has “supreme call and duty to: mobilise, sensitise and enlighten the electorate on all electoral processes by educating them on their responsibilities to perform their civic roles to vote for any candidate of their choice in all elective posts; address the issue of voter apathy and poor voter turnout in elections in Nigeria by rallying the electorate to perform their civic responsibilities.

“Educate voters to vote appropriately to avoid incidence of high records of invalid ballots at election; ensure that the game of politics is played in accordance with the enabling laws, rules and guidelines; lay bare the manifestoes of political parties through robust engagement with parties and candidates to assist voters to make informed choices at the election; checkmate the current trend of fake news and sensational reportage of events”.

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