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INEC may invoke sanctions against campaigns before 90 days to 2019 election

As part of providing level playing ground for all prospective participants in 2019 elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has written a letter warning to all political parties, asking them to stop campaigns pending when it 90 days to election proper.

The warning came at a time it is becoming clear that several political parties have started campaign build up.

It would be recalled that the election umpire had released the 2019 timetable and schedule of the 2019 general elections in January when it said that campaigns must not commence before December, which is three months to the commencement of the elections.

In a memo titled: “2019 general election campaign violation,” with Reference Number INEC /PP//245 /Vol. /310, was dated April 23, 2018, the Sokoto State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Sadiq Buba Musa, asked the political parties to do their political activities with recourse to Electoral Act as amended.

The INEC memo to political parties read in parts: “As you are aware, the activities of all registered political parties are to be in compliance with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Electoral Act 2010 (as Amended).

“Consequently, the commission has observed with dismay that some political parties have already started campaigning publicly, and by so doing, contravening the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) regarding public campaigns.

“In the light of the above, you are advised to strictly adhere to Section 99 (1) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), which stipulates that for the purpose of this Act, the period of campaigning in public by every political party shall commence 90 days before polling day and ends 24 hours prior to that day.

“Section 100 (1) states that a candidate and his party shall campaign for election in accordance with such rules and regulations as may be determined by the commission.

“Section 99 (2) (B) also provides that a maximum fine of N500‚ 000. 00 for contravening section (91) and (2) shall be enforced.

“l therefore appeal to all registered political parties in the state to be law abiding as we look forward to a peaceful conduct of 2019 General Elections.

“However, any political party that chooses to ignore this appeal and is found to be in breach of the provisions of the law shall face the full wrath of the law.

“Please accept the assurances of my esteem regards.”

Though the memo was for Sokoto State, political analysts say, the content is sending similar warnings to every politician and political party ahead of the 2019 election to be watchful after all.

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