JUST IN: APC, PDP Violated Electoral Act, INEC Declares

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has frowned on the violation of the Electoral Act 2022 by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and their respective supporters.

The INEC chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, said the commission was in receipt of reports of clashes among the leading political parties and their supporters.

“Even as the Commission is working hard to ensure a credible process in the forthcoming elections, reports of clashes among parties and their supporters in some States of the country during the ongoing electioneering campaign is worrisome. So too is the reported denial of access to public facilities for parties and candidates in some States of the Federation,” Yakubu said on Tuesday in Abuja during the commencement of a training workshop for INEC’s master trainers who will subsequently train other officials for the 2023 election.

While the INEC chairman did not specifically mention the names of the political parties, his statement came days after a clash between APC and PDP supporters in Zamfara State resulted in the death of one person.

Yakubu said, “Let me caution parties and their supporters to focus on issues and steer clear of attacks on each other.

“These are not only violations of the Electoral Act 2022 but also negate the voluntary commitment by all political parties and candidates to the letter and spirit of the Peace Accord signed about three weeks ago under the auspices of the National Peace Committee (NPC).

“Parties, candidates and their supporters should not by acts of commission or omission further complicate the prevailing security situation in the country. A peaceful electioneering campaign is critical to the conduct of peaceful and credible elections.

“The Commission will continue to monitor the situation closely and will convene a meeting with leaders of political parties next week to discuss, among the other issues, the imperative of peaceful campaigns and equal access to public facilities. In the same vein, the Commission will also meet with the security agencies under the auspices of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) next week.”

The Electoral Act forbids political parties, candidates and their supporters from abusive, intemperate, slanderous language or any other acts capable of provoking violent reactions or emotions.

Section 93 of the Act provides that: “(1) A party, candidate, aspirant, or person or group of persons shall not directly or indirectly threaten any person with the use of force or violence during any political campaign in order to compel that person or any other person to support or refrain from supporting a political party or candidate.

“(2) A political party, candidate, aspirant, person or group of persons that contravenes the provisions of this section commits an offence and is liable on conviction—

“(a) in the case of a candidate, aspirant, or person or group of persons, to a maximum fine of N1,000,000 or imprisonment for a term of 12 months ; and

“(b) in the case of a political party, to a fine of N2,000,000 in the first instance, and N500,000 for any subsequent offence.”

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