Following the postponement of presidential and National Assembly elections from the earlier scheduled date of February 16 to February 23, 2019, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have announced they will resume electioneering campaigns.
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had upon postponing the election few hours before its commencement, prohibited candidates and their political parties from open campaigns.
But the PDP in a statement on Sunday by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, said after due consideration of the provision of the Electoral Act, it had resolved to reopen its open campaigns.
“The party rejects the wrongful administrative prohibition of open campaigns by INEC, holding that such administrative pronouncement was erroneous, directly in conflict with the provision of the Electoral Act and is not backed by any other law in our country,” the PDP said.
The opposition party said its position was predicated on the clear provision of section 99 (1) of the Electoral Act which stipulated that “for the purposes of this Act, 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”.
It added, “The clear import of this provision, in the current situation, is that given the postponement of the election to February 23, 2019, the 24 hours requirement for closure of all public campaigning falls at midnight of February 21.
“The PDP reminds INEC that whenever its administrative pronouncement conflicts with the Electoral Act, such administrative pronouncement must bow before the law. The party charges INEC to be appropriately guided while directing its members to await further directives ahead of its reopening of campaigns.”
Like the PDP, APC national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, in a report by the Hausa Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation, monitored in Kano on Sunday, was quoted as saying the electoral laws allowed for campaigns to go on until 24 hours before polls.
“INEC cannot go contrary to what the law says. Everyone knows that campaigns can only be suspended 24 hours to an election, I will continue with campaigns on Sunday (yesterday) because if we don’t campaign, people will not come out and vote.
“We will tell the people what happened has happened. Let them come out and vote for the President (Muhammadu Buhari). For one week, if we don’t talk, people will forget; we will campaign,” he said.