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Edo/Ondo Elections: INEC Warns Against Use of Power of Incubency on Opposition Parties

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As the Ondo and Edo States Governorship elections draws closer, the Independent National Electora Commission(INEC), has warned against the use of the power of incumbency to deny opposition parties and candidates access to public facilities for rallies and other campaign activities.

National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Sam Olumekun who gave the indication in statement on Friday, said this has been a recurring problem in Nigeria’s electioneering process over the years.

He said such denial include access to public buildings such as sports stadiums, open spaces in public places, total denial or restricted access to state-owned radio and television stations, the imposition of excessive levies and fees for outdoor and media advertising, and even the removal or vandalisation of billboards and posters.

These actions he observed often result in violent clashes among party supporters and a breach of public peace.

The Commission therefore warned against the use of State apparatus to the advantage or disadvantage of any political party or candidate at any election, as stipulated in Section 95(2) of the Electoral Act 2022.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the Commission wishes to reiterate that Section 95(2) of the Electoral Act 2022 prohibits the use of State apparatus to “the advantage or disadvantage of any political party or candidate at any election”.

“Furthermore, under Section 95(3-5), it is obligatory for public media houses to allot equal coverage and visibility to all parties and candidates. Section 95(6) provides sanctions against heads of public media organisations, their principal officers, and other officials for contravention.

“A publication containing the Commission’s guidelines for the conduct of political rallies, processions and campaigns is already uploaded to the Commission’s website (www.inecnigeria.org). For emphasis, the same document is now uploaded to our social media platforms.

“Consequently, the attention of all concerned is drawn to the provisions of the law and the guidelines for strict compliance”, the Commission said.

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