Abuja—With just nine days to the lifting of the ban on electioneering campaigns for the 2023 general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has warned political parties and candidates against campaigning based on religious, tribal, or sectional sentiments, saying violators risk imprisonment upon conviction.
The commission said campaigns for presidential and National Assembly elections will commence on September 28, 2022, and end on February 23, 2023, while that of governorship and state Houses of Assembly will commence on October 12, 2022, and end on March 9, 2023.
Speaking exclusively with Daily Independent, Rotimi Oyekanmi, Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, said the laws governing political party activities and campaigns are spelt out in sections 221 – 227 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and sections 92 – 97 of the Electoral Act, 2022.
He said, “In line with the timetable and schedule of activities for the 2023 general election, campaigns by political parties in public for the presidential and National Assembly elections will commence on 28th September 2023 and end on 23rd February 2024.
“In the same vein, campaigns for governorship and state Assembly elections will begin on 12th October 2023 and end on 9th March 2024.
“The gamut of the extant laws governing political party activities including campaigns are well encapsulated in sections 221 – 227 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and sections 92 – 97 of the Electoral Act, 2022.
“For instance, when campaign begins, and this is very important, no candidate, person or political party can engage in campaigning or broadcasting based on religious, tribal, or sectional sentiments for the purpose of promoting or opposing a particular political party or the election of a particular candidate.
“Anyone that commits this offence could upon conviction, be jailed for 12 months or fined the sum of N1 million or both. In the case of a political party, the fine is N10 million.”
Speaking further, the commission also warned against abusive campaigns and the use of religious worship centres, public centres and masquerades for campaign purposes.
“Political parties, their candidates and supporters must ensure that their campaigns or slogans are not laced with abusive, intemperate, slanderous, base language, insinuations or innuendoes designed or likely to provoke violent reaction or emotions.
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“To be sure places designated for religious worship, police stations, and public offices cannot be used for political campaigns, rallies and processions, programmes, or ideologies.
“Masquerades should not be employed or used by any political party, aspirant or candidate during political campaigns or for any other political purpose.
“Also, a political party, an aspirant or a candidate of a political party cannot retain, organise, train, or equip any person or group of persons for the purpose of enabling them to be employed for the use or display of physical force or coercion in promoting any political objective or interest, or in such manner as to arouse reasonable apprehension that they are organised, trained, or equipped for that purpose.
“Indeed, no political party, aspirant or candidate is allowed to keep or use armed private security organisation, vanguard, or any other group or individual by whatever name called for the purpose of providing security, assisting, or aiding the political party or candidate in whatever manner during campaigns, rallies, processions, or elections.
“A political party, aspirant or candidate that contravenes this provision commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of N1 million or 12 months imprisonment (aspirant or candidate) and N2 million in the first instance and N1 million for any subsequent offence (political party).
“It is also important to note that state apparatus, including the media, shall not be employed to the advantage or disadvantage of any political party or candidate at any election. In other words, the media is obliged to allocate time equally among the political parties or candidates at similar hours of the day.
“For all public electronic media, equal airtime shall be allotted to all political parties or candidates during prime times at similar hours each day, subject to the payment of appropriate fees. At the same time, the public print media is under obligation to give equal coverage and visibility time to all political parties.
“Public media outfits that breach this provision could upon conviction be fined N2 million in the first instance and N5 million for subsequent breaches. Their principal officers could also on conviction be jailed for six months or fined N1 million.”
Go ahead and release another album, I will never join your Asoebi team of State dancers, Abaribe chides Wike
Umuahia—Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, the senator representing Abia South senatorial district in the Senate has responded to a statement made by Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike to the effect that he (Abaribe) dumped the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) after collecting money, Sun newspaper reports.
Speaking in Umuahia, the Abia State capital during the PDP flag-off campaign in the state, Wike had accused an Obingwa brother of Abia State governor, Okezie Ikpeazu of dumping the PDP after receiving money he requested for.
Wike hinted that the said person whom he did not mention his name, was denied ticket by the PDP and is currently contesting for the 2023 election under another party.
”I am aware that because of some people didn’t get ticket, they went and collected form. Today, we commissioned a road in Obingwa Local Government and am sure that person is from Obingwa local government.
“He promised me that he will not leave PDP and I told the governor, please your brother said he is not going to leave PDP and I said what do we do?
“He said he needs some money, we gave him the money like today; three days after, he left PDP”, Wike said, alluding the said candidate lacks integrity and cannot represent the people.
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Reacting in a statement, however, Senator Abaribe stated that Wike has by what he said, confirmed he (Abaribe) is incorruptible.
Abaribe, who is contesting the Abia South senatorial seat against Gov Ikpeazu on the platform of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), further stated that he is a free-born and cannot be a slave or cannot be bought to be “your Boi Boi”.
According to the statement, “Abaribe is a free-born and cannot be a slave. He is an Igbo man; Ndigbo adighi agba boi (The Igbos are never slaves).
“Wike enjoy those you bought. They are actually doing their job very well. Igba Boi is in their blood.
“Go ahead and release another album, Abaribe will never join your Asoebi team of State dancers. Abia State can never be your vassal State”, Abaribe stated.
Mentioning Peter Obi’s name is disgrace to me, says Tinubu
Warri Southwest—The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, has bragged that it is a “disgrace” to mention the name of the Labour Party’s presidential candidate, Peter Obi, in his presence.
Sahara Reporters reports that Tinubu, who spoke during a campaign rally on Friday, also claimed that the statistics the Labour Party candidate dished out every time was not what Nigerians were going to eat.
Making mockery of his LP opponent, the former Lagos governor said that all the statistics Peter Obi dished out were wrong.
In a video seen by SaharaReporters, Tinubu said, “The other one, that one; he thinks that it is statistics we will chop; in line with arithmetics that no Indian can solve.
“To mention his name is a disgrace to me self. I won’t mention his name; wrong arithmetics, wrong statistics, warehouse economy; that is not what Nigeria needs.”
SaharaReporters in November reported that Tinubu said it was disrespectful to mention the name of the deputy governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in Lagos, Funke Akindele, in his presence.
Akindele is also a famous Nigerian actor.
Tinubu had made this known at a political outing, where his supporters sang a campaign song, describing Funke Akindele as a political “ant” compared to the incumbent governor of Lagos and candidate of the APC in the 2023 election, Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
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However, Tinubu cautioned his supporters against mentioning Akindele’s name in his presence, describing it as disrespectful and an insult.
“Don’t even bother to mention her name in my presence. It is an insult. It is disrespectful,” the former Lagos governor had said.
Akindele had said that God called her and the PDP governorship candidate, Abdul-Azeez Adediran (Jandor) and gave them the mandate to change the turn Lagos around.
Akindele said God has been with her right from birth and is interested in her aspirations to make Lagos State work for all people in the state.
“God has been with me from infancy till I went to school and till now. He chose me to be the deputy governorship candidate of the PDP, despite the crowd that struggled to be chosen.
“I give God all the glory for what he has done. God has always been doing the best for me.
“We were called by God, if not we would have backed out. People have suffered but God has called us and put us forward to come and change the story of Lagos state for the better. The success of Lagos state is ours,” she had said.
Tinubu to visit Gbaramatu kingdom, set to meet Tompolo on Friday
Warri South-West—Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the All Progressive Congress (APC) Presidential Candidate in the forthcoming general election in the country will on Friday, November 25, 2022, storm Oporoza, the ancestral headquarters of Gbaramatu kingdom in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta state, GbaramatuVoice reports.
Sources close to Tinubu told GbaramatuVoice that while at Oporoza, he will pay a homage to the Pere of Gbaramatu kingdom, His Royal Majesty, Oboro-Gbaraun II, Aketekpe, Agadagba.
After the homage, Tinubu’s train will proceed to the home of High Chief Government Oweizide Ekpemupolo aka Tompolo, a former leader of the defund Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND), and global ambassador of the Ijaw Nation, where he is expected to hold a private meeting with him.
Analysts believe that the latest visit to Chief Tompolo by Tinubu who holds the traditional title of Jagaban of Yoruba nation is among other objectives aimed at soliciting Tompolo’s support in his current presidential position pursuit.
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It would be recalled that on Saturday, November 19, 2022, Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu led a mammoth crude to Warri Township stadium in Delta state where he flagged off the APC’s Presidential and Governorship campaigns in the state, among others.