The IRIAD-Electoral Hub has called on political parties and candidates to ensure an issue-based campaign ahead of the 2023 general election.
The organisation also called for inclusion of women, youths and persons living with disabilities in the electoral processes of the political parties.
Princess Hamman-Obels, Director, IRIAD – Electoral Hub in a statement explained that INEC under the law is exclusively saddled with the responsibility of regulating Election Campaigns in Nigeria.
She noted further that parties and candidates must follow INEC guideline for political rallies and campaigns.
“This guideline should be of top consideration by political parties and candidates in the manner they go about in their campaigns as this regulation has the binding effect of law and must be followed. Furthermore, section 95(2) of the Electoral Act 2022 stipulates that state apparatus including the media shall not be employed to the advantage or disadvantage of any political party of a candidate at any election. This section goes further to spell out sanctions on the media houses and their principal officers with an option of fine or imprisonment.
“An inclusive campaign is the hallmark of democracy. The inclusion of Women, Youths, and PWDs in campaign consideration will not only help deepen our democracy but also ensure that political parties tap into these electoral bases.
“According to World Health Organization (WHO), persons with disability constitute about twenty percent of the Nigerian population, however, they have largely been excluded from the electoral process and campaigns in terms of participation and representation.
“Political parties need to develop a framework for the inclusion and engagement of all groups in our society. In line with The Electoral Hub’s commitments to promoting inclusion, we call for an inclusive campaign/manifesto by candidates as the importance of Youths, PWDs, and Women in politics cannot be overemphasized”.
Hamman-Obels also reminded political parties of the quest for issue-based campaigns. She stressed that the Nigerian political scene is coming of age and should reflect the same in character and process of campaigns, particularly considering the ethnic, and religious fault lines in our country.
“As the campaign begins, we call on political parties and candidates to jettison mudslinging and ethnoreligious campaigns and focus on issues critical to our common patrimony.
“Section 97 of the Electoral Act stipulates that anybody or association that engages in campaigning or broadcast based on religion, tribal or sectional reasons for the purpose of promoting or opposing a particular candidate or party commits an offence and is liable to conviction.
“During this campaign period, The Electoral Hub calls on the different electoral stakeholders as follows:
Comply with all legal provisions in relation to campaigns
Focus on and conduct policy-based campaigns targeting real pertinent issues bedeviling the country such as wealth creation and distribution, securing lives and properties, etc.
Ensure messages are inclusive, not inciting, peaceful, and policy-based.
Be transparent and accountable in their spending as provided by the law.
Encourage policy-based campaigns, and discourage personal attacks, polarizing, hate speeches, etc.
Spotlight more on policy-based campaigns from candidates and parties.
Sensitize the public on a violence-free campaign.
“Anticorruption and Accountability Agencies/Bodies – EFCC, ICPC, NHRC, NBC
EFCC and ICPC should be fully involved in the campaigning period.
EFCC and ICPC, should effectively monitor and track campaign spending.
Police, EFCC, and ICPC should arrest and prosecute electoral offenders.
The National Human Right Commission (NHRC) Should monitor, track, and sanction human rights violations
. The National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) should monitor adverts and hate speech and provide necessary sanctions were necessary.
The banks should track illicit funds and report them appropriately to Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU).