With the 2023 general elections three months away, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has released its guidelines for the conduct of political activities.
The commission, in a six-page document titled “Conduct of Political Rallies, Processions and Campaigns,” prohibited the use of abusive language and hate speech as well as campaigns and political rallies in places of worship.
It also stated that no person attending a political rally, procession or campaign should be in possession of any offensive weapon.
The only people authorised to carry arms at such events, according to INEC, are police officers or members of security agencies who are specifically posted to be present at the respective political rallies or processions.
“No political campaign shall hold in places designated as religious centres, police stations and public offices.
“Political campaign shall not involve the use of abusive languages or any form of hate speech.
“State apparatus including the media shall not be employed to the advantage or
disadvantage of any political party or candidate at any election,” it stated.
INEC noted that the objective of political rallies was to project, offer, sensitize and create awareness about the party’s symbol, flag, slogan, and manifesto.
The commission mandated political parties to submit a notification of the schedule of their campaigns stating the date, time, venue, agenda and list of members of the organising committee and police approval within the jurisdiction of the campaigns, within a minimum period no later than 10 days to the commencement of their campaigns.
It added that political parties and candidates should conduct campaigns based on the constitution and manifestoes, complying with the provisions of Regulations and Guidelines for Political Parties 2022 issued by the commission, political parties codes of conduct, regulations and guidelines that may be issued by the National Broadcasting Commission, as well as COVID-19 safety protocols and other public health regulations and measures.