News

June 21, 2024

Edo/Ondo: INEC warns against denying access to public facilities

Edo/Ondo: INEC warns against denying access to public facilities

INEC chairman, Yakubu Mahmood

By Omeiza Ajayi

Ahead of the forthcoming Governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states, the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC has cautioned state officials in both states against denying the opposition, access to public facilities for electioneering.

INEC which noted that following the publication of the final list of candidates for the governorship elections in Edo and Ondo States, public campaigns had commenced in earnest, recalled that over the years, a recurring problem in Nigeria’s electioneering process has been the use of the power of incumbency to deny opposition parties and candidates access to public facilities for rallies and other campaign activities.

“These include public buildings such as sports stadia, open spaces in public places, total denial or restricted access to state-owned media (specifically radio and television stations), the imposition of excessive levies and fees for outdoor and media advertising, and even the removal or vandalisation of billboards and posters. These actions often result in violent clashes among party supporters and a breach of public peace”, INEC said in a statement issued on Friday in Abuja and signed by its National Commissioner in charge of Information and Voter Education Committee, Sam Olumekun.

The commission noted that for the avoidance of doubt, Section 95(2) of the Electoral Act 2022 prohibits the use of State apparatus to “the advantage or disadvantage of any political party or candidate at any election”.

“Furthermore, under Section 95(3-5), it is obligatory for public media houses to allot equal coverage and visibility to all parties and candidates. Section 95(6) provides sanctions against heads of public media organisations, their principal officers, and other officials for contravention.

“A publication containing the Commission’s guidelines for the conduct of political rallies, processions and campaigns is already uploaded to the Commission’s website (www.inecnigeria.org). For emphasis, the same document is now uploaded to our social media platforms.

“Consequently, the attention of all concerned is drawn to the provisions of the law and the guidelines for strict compliance”, INEC added.