The electoral body here has warned local politicians, political parties and persons seeking to contest the upcoming 2017 general elections to desist from engaging in early campaigns.
The National Elections Commission or NEC warning follows statements and activities of political parties and individuals seeking political offices here which can be described as early campaigns. Some individuals vying to seek political offices here have already begun printing t-shirts and posters far ahead of the political season.
NEC said such practices violates Chapter VI, Section 6 of its 2014 guidelines relating to registration of political parties and independent candidates. The electoral body said it will not hesitate to revoke the licenses or bar political parties or individuals who are found in violation of its guidelines.
Below is the full statement from NEC: It has come to the attention of the National Elections Commission (NEC) that some political parties and individuals desiring to seek political offices during the forthcoming 2017 General Elections are engaged in pre-campaign activities in violation of Chapter VI, Section 6 of the 2014 Guidelines Relating to the Registration of Political Parties and Independent Candidates.
The NEC has also observed that self-styled groups under names such as “Movements for….., Friends of…..” and others in support of political parties, individuals and/or independent aspirants intending to contest the 2017 Elections are also engaged in activities that contravene the herein mentioned guidelines.
The Commission states that it has not declared the start of political campaigning for the 2017 General Elections; therefore engaging in any of the following activities outside of the campaign period are strictly prohibited under Section 24.3 of the Guidelines:
1. Political Rallies; 2. Political Broadcasts, statement and political messages in print and electronic media;
3. Use of Posters, Fliers, buntings, advertisement on Billboards, public and private buildings, light poles and the internet;
4. T-shirts, caps and other promotional items; and
5. Individual Promotional stickers on vehicles.
Because the Commission takes its mandate of conducting free, fair and transparent elections seriously, it strongly warns political parties, independent aspirants and groups engaged in such activities to desist with immediate effect as the Commission will not hesitate to take punitive actions against violators which may include decertification or suspension in the case of political parties.
The Commission however states that as stipulated in Chapter VI of the Guidelines related to political parties and candidatesthe following activities are permissible during non-campaign periods: 1. Political party membership drive;
2. Establishment of party offices (both national and local);
3. Fund Raising Activities;
4. Use of Logo/emblems on offices, vehicles and other party properties;
5. Holding of political party national and local convention;
6. Political party meetings; and 7. Representational activities, including receiving and responding to petition from constituencies;
All political parties, individuals and self-styled groups are asked to adhere to these stipulations and govern themselves accordingly.