The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has released its guidelines for the conduct of political activities, banning among other things, campaigns in churches and mosques.
The electoral body also forbade the use of abusive language and hate speech in a six-page paper titled “Conduct of Political Rallies, Processions, and Campaigns.”
Additionally, it was declared that no one should be carrying an offensive weapon while participating in a political demonstration, procession, or campaign.
According to INEC, only police personnel or members of security services who have been assigned explicitly to be present at the relevant political rallies or processions are permitted to carry weapons at such events.
“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,” INEC said.
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 within a minimum period of no later than 10 days prior to the start of their campaigns. This notification is to include the date, time, venue, agenda, list of members of the organizing committee, and police approval within the jurisdiction of the campaigns.
Political parties and candidates should conduct campaigns in accordance with the provisions of the Commission’s Regulations and Guidelines for Political Parties 2022, the codes of conduct for political parties, any regulations and guidelines that the National Broadcasting Commission may issue, COVID-19 safety protocols, and other public health laws and ordinances, the statement added.