The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) okays resumption of political campaigns by political parties, just a few days after placing a ban on political parties not to campaign, despite the postponement of elections.
The commission on Monday evening after its management meeting, said all political campaigns for the rescheduled Presidential and National Assembly elections can now resume, but should end on Thursday, two days before elections.
The move by INEC is also coming after the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) released a statement saying it erred in his prohibition directives stopping political campaigns, when elections are still five days away, saying:
After due consideration of the provision of the Electoral Act, PDP is set to reopen political campaigns consequent upon the postponement of Presidential and National Assembly elections by INEC from the earlier scheduled date to Feb. 23, 2019”
“The PDP reminds INEC that whenever its administrative pronouncement conflicts with the Electoral Act, such administrative pronouncement must bow before the law. The party charges INEC to be appropriately guided while directing its members to await further directives
The clear import of this provision, in the current situation, is that given the postponement of the election to February 23, 2019, the 24 hours requirement for closure of all public campaigning falls at midnight of February 21, 2019.
Our position is predicated on the clear provision of section 99 (1) of the Electoral Act which stipulated that “for the purposes of this Act, the period of campaigning in public by every political party shall commence 90 days before polling day and end 24 hours prior to that day”
PDP rejects the wrongful administrative prohibition of open campaigns by INEC holding that such administrative pronouncement was erroneous, directly in conflict with the provision of the Electoral Act and is not backed by any other law in our country”.
The electoral commission sensing that they have erred as rightly put by PDP, decided to okay resumption of political campaigns by all parties. It’s statement reads:
“INEC met on Monday night 18th February, 2019 and reviewed it’s preparations for the 2019 general elections re-scheduled for Saturday 23rd 2019 for the Presidential and National Assembly Elections and Saturday 9th of March for the Governorship and State Assembly and the Federal Capital Territory council areas.
It will be recall at the briefing on Saturday, 16th February at Abuja Intercontinental conference (AICC) the commission gave reasons for the rescheduling of the polls and released a new scheduling of activities leading to the elections.
The commission has also worked out details, concrete steps to be taken to ensure that election materials arrive at the polling unit in good time for prompt commencement of the polls on Saturday 23rd February 2019.
An update will be provided by the commission at a press conference on Thursday 19th of February 2019 at the Abuja International Conference Centre by 3pm.
In the main time, after consultation with political parties, the Commission has approved that campaigns by parties and candidates can resume forthwith to end by midnight of Thursday, 21st February, 2019 and circulate materials until midnight on Thursday 21st February
Political parties and their candidates are enjoyed to abide by the extant laws governing campaigns.”