The Commission said it would not change its 2015 elections timetable.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, said it is set to prosecute political parties engaging in campaigns ahead of the 2015 general elections. It said such campaigns are in the breach of the electoral laws.
The INEC Chairman, Attahiru Jega, who stated this during an interaction with journalists in Abuja on Monday, said the Commission had commenced the documentation of those breaches and would head to court soon.
Some Nigerians had raised concerns over rallies organised by some major parties, notably the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the All Progressives Congress, APC, during which they received members
defecting from other parties.
The ruling PDP had organised zonal rallies in almost all the geo-political zones where it received defectors from other parties.
Other politicians also mount bill boards and pasted posters in strategic corners announcing their intentions to contest for elective position.
Mr. Jega, who admitted that there were clear breaches of the electoral laws by politicians, said despite the challenges and difficulties faced by politicians, it would press charges against them to serve as
“There are clear breaches of the law,” he said. “We have started documenting those breaches. These breaches, we will try and see whether we can commence prosecution with all the challenges and
The INEC Chairman said the Commission recently discussed the issue with the leaderships of the political parties at a meeting during which it was agreed that it should come out clear with what would constitute electoral offences with regard to campaigns.
He said, “They have a point because they (politicians) are very skilful, skilful about how they do these campaigns and even go around. The Electoral Laws says you cannot campaign to be voted into an office
unless you nominated by a political party.
“If you want to be a senator or president or governor, you have to be nominated by your party. But what our politicians do from day one, they start campaigning. They are very skilful about how they go about it.
“If somebody comes around and prints a posters or a billboard that says ‘elect me for governor in 2015’, that is an outright breach of the law and we have evidence of people who have done that. But if
people come and say ‘Achiever Carry On’… they are very skilful. You know what they mean, but you cannot do anything to hold to it. So what we have agreed with them (parties) is to come out with clear
guidelines on this. We will provide additional guidelines that can help provide clarity in terms what constitutes an offence.”
Mr. Jega said some people have accused the Commission of not penalizing the parties holding rallies. He explained that technically the concerned parties did not violate the electoral laws since they did not use such fora to canvass for votes.
He, however, said substantially majority of the problems were induced by the mindset and mentality of the politicians.
On campaign funding, the INEC Chairman admitted the Commission did not do enough in monitoring campaign funding in 20111.
He, however, said in the preparation for the 2015 general elections, the Commission had commenced plan to collaborate with a Non-Governmental Organisation, NGO, to monitor the campaign funding.
Mr. Jega ruled out the conduct of the elections in one day, saying it would stick with its timetable which scheduled the elections for two days
The Presidential and National Assembly elections would hold on February 14, 2015 while the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections would hold on February 28, 2015.
He said the Commission was hesitant in conducting the elections in one day because of the huge logistical challenges.
He expressed surprise that some political parties were complaining about the sequence of the election. He explained that the timetable released by INEC was not radically different from that of 2011,
when all the elections were held in three different days.
He said, “In 2011, we did elections in three different days. We say ‘okay if we can’t do all the elections in one day, let us see if we can reduce the number of days.’ That is why we say in 2015, we will do it in two different days.
“In 2011, we did the National Assembly election first, then we did presidential election, then we did governorship and State House of Assembly elections. That is what we did in 2011. Nobody complained
about the sequence; nobody said at that time that governorship should
come first and presidential election should come last.
“When now we decided to do two elections instead of three, all we did is that we used common sense and logic. We said ‘okay we are going to do the one we did first and the one we did second on the first day.’ The one we did third, let it now be on the second day.
“But when you hear people talk, they say we changed the sequence, but we did not change any sequence. They said there is going to be bandwagon effect. When we did in 2011, was there any bandwagon effect? The president was elected under the PDP, many PDP governors lost election. Where was the bandwagon effect?”