The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has succumbed to demands of political parties and has lifted temporary ban placed on campaigns. The commission had said there would no longer be campaigns by the parties despite the shift on election dates. But after its meeting yesterday, the commission said it has approved campaigns by parties and candidates till midnight of Thursday, February 21.
It expressed gratitude to Nigerians for their understanding regarding the rescheduling of the elections and appealed to stakeholders to be dispassionate and circumspect in their comments.
INEC stated that it is focusing on the elections to be held on February 23 and March 9 to ensure that they are free, fair and credible. “We urge all Nigerians to participate fully in the elections, notwithstanding the disappointment,” the commission said.
National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, had at the party’s caucus meeting yesterday renewed his agitation for INEC to lift the ban on political campaigns, arguing that by rescheduling the polls, the electoral umpire cannot stop the political parties from resuming their campaigns and mobilisation of voters as the law stipulates that campaigns can only stop 24 hours to the election. “INEC is not in the position to make laws. The laws made by our parliament are superior to the opinions of the INEC chairman (with all due respect to his office).
The extant provision of the law is clear. When you postpone elections, the law says you are entitled to renew campaigns up to 24 hours before the date of the elections. It did not say you would stop campaigns on the 15th of February regardless of when the elections will actually take place.
“When campaigns stop is determined by when election is expected to commence. Therefore, as a law-abiding party, we will proceed to energise our members to renew campaigns and to urge them to come out en masse. “So, without consulting INEC, we are proceeding and we are ready to meet them in court because they cannot by administrative fiat amend or distort extant provisions in the Electoral Act,” he said.