The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has set conditions that must be met by political parties to hold public rallies for the Edo and Ondo Governorship Elections.
Festus Okoye, the INEC National Commissioner and Chairman (Information and Voter Education Committee), said that political parties must give INEC a 7-day notice before holding any rally.
Mr. Okoye noted that the condition is aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19.
He noted that INEC has informed all political parties that their guidelines for campaigns must conform with the protocols set by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
“Political parties are encouraged to develop appropriate guidelines for the conduct of rallies and campaigns taking into consideration all the guidelines and protocols developed by health authorities at the national and state levels.
“Where there are conflicts between political parties’ guidelines on the conduct of rallies and campaigns and those issued by the commission, the commission shall draw the attention of the political parties to the discrepancies.”
He further noted that Professor Mahmood Yakubu, the Chairman of INEC, had on June 9 issued supplementary regulations and guidelines for rallies and campaigns by political parties and aspirants.
Okoye said political campaigns must comply with the provisions of regulations issued by INEC. He added that the campaign must not violate the National Broadcasting Commission and public health regulations.
“It is mandatory for political parties intending to hold rallies and campaigns to notify the commission, through the electoral officer at the local government level or the resident electoral commissioner at the state level. The notification shall be by a notice, transmitted electronically and in hard copies giving details of the public rallies, meetings, processions or public gathering not later than seven days to the date of the event.”
“All the registered political parties are aware of the global pandemic and how it has affected the way we live and organise and we expect political parties to factor the health and safety of Nigerians into their guidelines for campaigns and rallies.
“We expect political parties to be creative, innovative and dynamic in their rallies and campaigns. It is the responsibility of political parties to design campaign strategies in line with the regulations and protocols issued by health authorities.”
“We therefore expect candidates and political parties to utilise the conventional media, the social media and other creative means of information dissemination in their campaigns and rallies.
“Political parties should, therefore, find a balance between the orthodox means of rallies and campaigns and the new realities of face masks, social and physical distancing and hand washing and hand sanitizers.”
David Chima is the Group Head (Editors) at Naija Buzz News. He is a very experienced Journalist. He studied Mass Communication at the Nuhu Bamalli Polytechnic Zaria, Kaduna State, before proceeding for Advanced Studies in Mass Communication (Journalism) at the Federal Polytechnic Bauchi, Bauchi State. He previously served as the Head Senior Reporters and Publishers at 1Push.Ng and eventually Naija Buzz News. Chima is a lover of football and a very strong supporter of Barcelona Football Club Spain.