2023: 18 Political parties sign Peace Accord as INEC vows to be decisive as regulator

By Harry Awurumibe, Editor Abuja Bureau

The Chairman of  Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu has vowed that  the Commission in line with the provisions of the 2022 Electoral Act and in its determination to play its role as a regulator, will vigorously monitor compliance to ensure that parties shun abusive, intemperate or slanderous language as well as insinuations or innuendoes likely to provoke a breach of the peace during the electioneering campaigns.

Prof. Yakubu disclosed this on Thursday in his Goodwill Message at the Official Signing of the Peace Accord for Peaceful Campaign, organised by the National Peace Committee (NPC) established by former Head of State General Abdulsalami Abubakar in Abuja

The INEC boss said, the Commission will also closely monitor compliance with the limits on campaign spending under the Electoral Act. 

“There are sanctions provided by law. Political parties and candidates should study and ,7 themselves with the electoral legal framework to avoid any infraction of the law and the unhappy consequences that will follow any act of misdemeanour”, he said.

He noted the 2023 General Election will be conducted for 1,491 constituencies nationwide made up of one Presidential constituency, 28 Governorship elections, 109 Senatorial Districts, 360 Federal constituencies and 993 State Assembly constituencies.

Prof. Yakubu stressed that every constituency is important. Every election is important. Therefore, the commitment to peaceful and issue-based electioneering campaign should resonate beyond the 18 Party Chairmen and Presidential candidates present here today. It is not enough to simply sign the Peace Accord. 

“What is more important is to abide by its letter and spirit. You should similarly pass the message to all your candidates, members and supporters across the country for compliance. This will be your own way of showing appreciation for the work of the NPC and an affirmation of your contribution to electoral peace in Nigeria”, he opined.

The INEC Chairman noted that the NPC is taking another giant step by inviting parties and candidates to commit to peaceful electioneering campaigns. This is important considering the connection between peaceful campaign on the one hand and peaceful and credible elections on the other, The Commission appreciates the positive role of the NPC in the progressive improvement of our elections in Nigeria.

“The Electoral Act 2022 provides for campaign in public by political parties to commence not earlier than 150 days before polling day. Accordingly, campaign by political parties for the 2023 General Election officially commenced yesterday Wednesday 28th September 2022.

“This will continue until 24 hours before polling day i.e.February 23, 2023 for national elections (Presidential and National Assembly) and  March 9, 2023 for State elections (Governorship and Houses of Assembly)”.

“The implication is that for the next 148 days, political parties, candidates and their supporters are free traverse the country holding meetings, rallies, processions and door-to-door campaigns. They will grant interviews, sponsor indoor and outdoor advertisements and publish other campaign materials. This is often a delicate period characterized by excitement and anxiety”, he added.

Those that witnessed signing of the Peace Accord were members of the National Peace Committee (NPC), presidential candidates for the 2023 General Election and various political party chairmen.

Also present at the event are the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Heads of all the Nigerian security agencies, National Commissioners of INEC, European Union (EU) Ambassador to Nigeria and other members of the Diplomatic Corps.

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