As campaigns for the 2023 polls kicks off on Wednesday, September 28, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has warned political parties and candidates against the use of abusive languages or hate speech.
The Chairman of the commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, who gave the warning at the ongoing two-day capacity building workshop on the commission’s progresses, innovations, preparations for the 2023 general elections in Lagos, urged all the 18 registered political parties to study and pay attention to the provisions of the Constitution.
He also urged them to pay attention to the Electoral Act, the Police Act as well as the Public Order Act for proper and peaceful conduct of political campaigns, rallies and processions.
He said: “As I have pointed out, the Commission has entered the critical phase in the electoral process. As of today, the Commission has undertaken eight out of the 14 items on the Calendar and Schedule of Activities for the 2023 General Election.
“On 20th September, 2022, the Commission released the final list of candidates nominated for National Elections; Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates, Senatorial and House of Representative Candidates.
“On 4th October 2022, the Commission will release the Final List of candidates nominated in relation to State Elections; Governorship, Deputy Governorship and State of Assemblies.
“On 28th September, 2022, Presidential and National Assembly campaigns will start while that of Governorship and State Assembly candidates will start on 12th October 2022. The Commission will continue to adhere to set timelines in carrying out its activities.
“A political campaign or slogan shall not be tainted with abusive language directly or indirectly likely to injure religious, ethnic, tribal or sectional feelings.
“Abusive, intemperate, slanderous or base language or innuendoes designed or likely to provoke violent reaction or emotions shall not be employed or used in political campaigns. Let me also remind the media of their constitutional and legal obligations.
“State apparatus including the media shall not be employed to the advantage or disadvantage of any political party or candidate at any election. In other words, equal coverage and visibility shall be allotted to all political parties by all public print and electronic media organisations.”
“The same applies in equal measure to privately owned media organizations subject to payment of appropriate fees.”