Following insinuations by some persons that aspirants declaring their interest to vie for the presidency in 2023 were violating the law, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Friday says it will not interfere with the constitutional provision that guarantees the right to freedom of expression, including the freedom to hold opinions and receive and impart ideas and information without interference.
The Commission, although, cautioned political parties not to engage in any public campaign, saying parties and candidates must play by the rules or they would be made to face the law.
INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr Festus Okoye, in Abuja, said, “The constitution is the fundamental law of the land and the present commission will not in any way interfere with and abridge the right of any Nigerian citizen to freedom of expression.
“Section 99(1) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) is clear and unambiguous. The period of campaigning in public by every political party shall commence 90 days before polling day and end 24 hours prior to that day. The operative word is campaigning in public by political parties and the candidates they are promoting.
“Political parties and their candidates must therefore campaign in public in accordance with rules and regulations as may be determined by the commission.”