The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has released its instructions for the conduct of political activities three months before the general elections of 2023.
In a six-page paper titled “Conduct of Political Rallies, Processions, and Campaigns,” the committee barred the use of abusive language and hate speech as well as political rallies and campaigns in houses of worship.
It further declared that no one attending a political rally, procession, or campaign event should be armed.
According to INEC, the only individuals authorized to carry guns at such gatherings are police officers or personnel of security services who have been assigned to be present at particular 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 said that the purpose of political rallies was to promote, present, sensitize, and raise awareness of the party’s emblem, flag, slogan, and manifesto.
The commission mandated that political parties submit a notification of the schedule of their campaigns, including the date, time, venue, agenda, and list of members of the organizing committee, as well as police approval within the jurisdiction of the campaigns, no later than ten days prior to the start of the campaigns.
It added that political parties and candidates should conduct campaigns based on the constitution and manifestos, in accordance with the provisions of the Commission’s Regulations and Guidelines for Political Parties 2022, party codes of conduct, regulations and guidelines that may be issued by the National Broadcasting Commission, COVID-19 safety protocols, and other public health regulations and measures.