HUMAN rights activist, Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, today, faulted the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, over the ban on campaign for votes saying the limitation of campaign imposed by INEC should be reversed without any delay.
In a statement, Mr. Falana, who cited relevant sections of the Electoral Act, said: By virtue of section 26 of the Electoral Act an election may be postponed if a serious breach of peace or violence is likely to occur or on account of natural disaster or other emergencies.
“Furthermore, section 105 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria provides that if the federation is at war in which the territory of the country is physically involved and the President considers that it is not practicable to hold elections the national assembly may pass a resolution to postpone the election. And such postponement shall not be more than six months at any one time.”
Besides, he said: “The shameful postponement of the 2019 general election would not have occurred if the Federal Government had unbundled the INEC and ensured the practice of internal democracy in the political parties. It is public knowledge that both APC and PDP have not committed themselves to electoral reforms. Hence, they have conveniently forgotten that the late President Umaru Yar’Adua had admitted that the 2007 general election which produced his regime was highly flawed. Since the system will continue to produce flawed elections all democratic forces should mount sufficient pressure on the Federal Government to implement the recommendations of the aforesaid electoral reform panels, once the 2019 rescheduled elections are concluded.
“Meanwhile, INEC which has shifted the general election by 7 days is alleged to have turned round to ban political parties and their candidates from further campaigning for votes. With respect, INEC has not paid attention to Section 99 of the Electoral Act which provides that the period of campaigning in public by political parties shall end 24 hours before polling day.”
Since elections have been shifted the period of campaign has also shifted and will end 24 hours to the new polling day.
“Therefore, the limitation of campaign imposed by INEC should be reversed without any delay. Furthermore, INEC should comply with all valid and subsisting court orders with respect to the candidates sponsored by political parties for the general elections. Otherwise, the courts may annul some of the elections conducted by INEC on grounds of exclusion of qualified candidates.”