Prominent lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), on Sunday, criticised the Independent National Electoral Commission’s barring of campaign activities of political parties till the new date of elections.
INEC, OYO INSIGHT recalls, had postponed the presidential and national assembly election earlier fixed for yesterday owing to what the commission called logistic problems.
This newspaper had reported how the Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, in Oyo State, Barr. Mutiu Agboke, said that campaign has stopped despite the postponement.
Falana, in a statement, said political parties were by section 99 of the Electoral Act, allowed to campaign up till 24 hours to the election.
He said with the shifting of the election by one week, campaign period by political parties had shifted and would only end 24 hours to the election.
According to him, INEC in taking the decision prohibiting parties from re-opening campaigns following the postponement of the elections originally scheduled for last Saturday to February 23, failed to pay attention to the provision of the said section of the Electoral Act.
He stated, “Meanwhile, INEC which has shifted the general election by seven days is alleged to have turned round to ban political parties and their candidates from further campaigning for votes.
“With respect, INEC has not paid attention to Section 99 of the Electoral Act which provides that the period of campaigning in public by political parties shall end 24 hours before polling day.
“Since elections have been shifted the period of campaign has also shifted and will end 24 hours to the new polling day.
“Therefore, the limitation of campaign imposed by INEC should be reversed without any delay.
“Furthermore, INEC should comply with all valid and subsisting court orders with respect to the candidates sponsored by political parties for the general elections.
“Otherwise, the courts may annul some of the elections conducted by INEC on grounds of exclusion of qualified candidates.”