Ahead of the 2023 general elections, which are now just about three months away, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has banned political campaigns and rallies at any place of worship, including churches and mosques.
This was stated by the electoral tribunal in its recently published guidelines for the conduct of political activities during this electioneering period.
The INEC report, “Conduct of Political Rallies, Processions, and Campaigns,” was 6 pages long and included information about the prohibition of political campaigning in government buildings like police stations.
As stated in the guidelines, INEC forbade the use of hate speech and abusive language throughout the election period, as well as the use of state resources like the media.
According to the commission, no one should carry an offensive weapon when attending a political demonstration, procession, or campaign.
It stated that only police personnel or members of security services who have been assigned to be present at the relevant political rallies or processions are allowed to carry weapons at such events, according to INEC.
“No person attending a political rally or procession shall be in possession of any offensive weapon, except a police officer or a member of a security agency authorized to carry arms and is specifically posted to be present at that political rally or processions.
“No political campaign shall hold in places designated as religious centres, police stations, and public offices. Political campaigns shall not involve the use of abusive language 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.”
The purpose of political rallies, according to INEC, is to present, promote, sensitize, and raise awareness of the party’s emblem, flag, catchphrase, and platform.
The commission required political parties to submit a notification of the schedule of their campaigns, including the date, time, location, agenda, list of organizing committee members, and police approval within the campaign’s jurisdiction, at least 10 days prior to the start of the campaign.
Political parties and candidates should conduct campaigns in accordance with the provisions of the Commission’s Regulations and Guidelines for Political Parties 2022, as well as any codes of conduct, rules, or directives that the National Broadcasting Commission may issue for political parties, as well as Covid-19 safety protocols and other public health laws and regulations.