Ahead of the December 3 take-off of governorship campaigns in Nigeria, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it could not sanction erring political parties and their candidates accused of campaigning before the official date because the commission had not receive official complaint from any political party or candidate.
Recently, opposition parties in the country, led by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) have accused the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and it gubernatorial candidate in Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, of violating the electoral law by campaigning and pushing campaign materials across the state when the ban on governorship campaigns have not been lifted by INEC.
The parties had urged INEC to sanction the APC, disqualify its gubernatorial candidate in the state and also prosecute him for breaching the electoral law; they noted that the current silence of the commission was an indication that next year’s general election would not be free and fair.
But speaking in an interview with BusinessDay Wednesday, the public relations officer (PRO) of the Lagos office of INEC, Femi Fabiyi, said the commission could not sanction any political party or candidate, because there was no official complaint from any of the political parties in the country. He further observed that it would be out of place for the commission to take such action when there was no petition.
When asked if the commission had not seen the campaign posters of some candidates across the state, the INEC official said the commission was busy preparing for next year’s election and could only act on official complaints so that its action would be not be interpreted as witch-hunting.