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INEC Urges Political Parties to Pay Attention to Electoral Act, Constitution for Peaceful Campaigns

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has charged political parties participating in the forthcoming governorship elections in Bayels, Kogi and Imo states to pay attention to the provisions of the Constitution, the Electoral Act, the Police Act, and the Public Order Act for the peaceful conduct of political campaigns.

Chairman of INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu who gave the charge on Monday, at the opening of a two-day capacity building workshop for INEC Press Corps on ethical safety and critical issues relating to the Kogi, Imo and Bayelsa Governorship Elections, stressed that abusive political campaigns or slogans that could mar peaceful coexistence in the country should be avoided pre-election.

Represented by the National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee(IVEC), Mr. Sam Olumekun, the INEC Chairman stated that abusive, intemperate, slanderous, or biase language likely to provoke violent reactions should not be used during political campaigns.

He also advised the media to be objective in reporting election activities, urging them not allow themselves to be used to the advantage or disadvantage of any political party or candidate at any election.

Earlier, in his remarks, the INEC National Commissioner and member IVEC, Professor Kunle Ajayi, expressed concern over the alarming rate of misinformation, fake news, hate speech, and the weaponization of disinformation.

Recalling what he described as the Commission’s distasteful experience with fake news in 2023 General Election, Ajayi, posited that fake news, if not nipped in the bud, could become the bane of election management in Nigeria.

He condemned the challenge of Disinformation, maintaining that the menace provokes religious, political, and tribal sentiments in an already polarized society such as Nigeria, especially, during election season, which he said often led to the cause of electoral violence in the country.

“Election-related disinformation has become a major strategy used by nefarious individuals and groups in the political space to manipulate the general public to their advantage, regardless of the consequential effect such propaganda may have on the peace and stability of the electoral process and the country at large”, he said.

He therefore appealed to the media to be objective and unbiased in their reporting and avoid fake and sensational news in order to create a safe space for the electorate to freely exercise their franchise on election day.

‘The Press must commit to delivering thorough, verified, and unbiased information, pulled from credible sources to the public. At the same time, they must refrain from reporting information that encourages divisions or antagonistic discussions, which are likely to incite violence or endanger social life.

“In reporting the activities of the Commission; pre-election, election, and post-election activities, we plead with the media to be factual, objective, and professional in their reportage”, he said.

Also the Commission restated its commitment as an electoral body to remain transparent in all its activities.

On his part, the Chairman, INEC Press Corps(IPC), Segun Ojumu who expressed gratitude to the Chief Electoral Umpire, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu and his management team for the training, aimed at equipping the INEC Press Corps with skills and knowledge to fulfil their roles effectively, harped on the need for accurate and unbiased reporting, adding that it was vital to ensuring transparency, public trust, and the credibility of the electoral process.

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