By Nwafor Sunday
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has faulted the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, over its declaration on campaigns.
After the commission failed to hold the presidential and national assembly elections scheduled to hold on the 16th of February, INEC declared that no political party is allowed to reopen campaigns.
Reacting, PDP through its National Publicity Secretary, and Director, Media & Publicity, PDP Presidential Campaign Organization, Kola Ologbondiyan, opined that the commission erred in its prohibition directives.
The party whose position is predicated on the provision of section 99 (1) of the Electoral Act, insisted that it must reopen campaign.
“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”, says section 99 (1) of the Electoral Act.
In view of the above Act, PDP averred;
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), after due consideration of the provision of the Electoral Act, is set to reopen its open campaigns consequent upon the postponement of Presidential and National Assembly elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from the earlier scheduled date of February 16 to February 23, 2019.
The party 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.
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”.
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.
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 ahead of its reopening of campaigns.