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INEC cautions against power abuse during Edo, Ondo guber election

Ahead of the Edo and Ondo upcoming governorship election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has cautioned the State Governors, Godwin Obaseki, and Lucky Aiyedatiwa, and other politicians against exploiting their incumbency to silence opposition voices.

The electoral umpire urged the governors not to deny opposition parties space to campaign ahead of the gubernatorial poll in the states.

INEC, in a statement released on Friday, indicated that over the years, incumbent governors had being denying opposition parties and their candidates access to public facilities for rallies and other campaign activities.

The electoral body noted that the act had been a recurring problem in Nigeria’s electioneering process.
INEC added that total denial or restricted access to state-owned media (specifically radio and television stations), the imposition of excessive levies and fees for outdoor and media advertising, and even the removal or vandalization of billboards and posters, often result in violent clashes among party supporters and a breach of public peace.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the Commission wishes to reiterate that Section 95(2) of the Electoral Act 2022 prohibits the use of State apparatus to ‘the advantage or disadvantage of any political party or candidate at any election.

“Under Section 95(3-5), it is obligatory for public media houses to allot equal coverage and visibility to all parties and candidates. Failure to comply with these regulations may result in sanctions against heads of public media organizations, principal officers, and other officials according to Section 95(6) of the Electoral Act.”

The Commission is urging all parties to respect these rules to ensure a peaceful and fair electoral process.

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