MIXED reactions have trailed the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to clampdown on politicians and political parties now campaigning for 2015 elections. Some Nigerians believe that INEC can punish offenders irrespective of who they are, while others see it as an empty threat. Below are what some Nigerians say concerning the ban.
Anayochukwu Obiajunwa, Civil Servant: I’m in full support of INEC and I believe it can punish those behind illegal posters of contestants for the 2015 general elections. This is illegal because the rules of engagement are clearly stipulated by the electoral act 2010 as amended. The campaigns are supposed to start when the commission releases the time table for the elections. But some politicians have already jumped the gun.
Grace Ali, Teacher: INEC can do it because the posters are only heating up the polity and the people in power would not concentrate on governing the people again. All their attention would shift to campaign rather than governance; this is not good for our democracy.
Cyril Odey, Public Servant: INEC can’t do anything. This is just a political statement which the PDP wants to use to witch-hunt the opposition. What would INEC do to President Goodluck Jonathan, who is also pasting his posters everywhere?
Obike Elezue, Trader: I see this as a means for the PDP to hunt down the opposition because in liberal democracies, there is no timeline for campaigns in actual sense, whatever provisions is in the electoral act, INEC must enforce them.
John Ani, Banker: INEC is just jumping the gun here. This warning is unwarranted. What I see happening now are political alignments, adjustments and political posturing. And, as far as I can tell, none of these poses any danger or threat to our democracy. So, what is INEC up to? Is INEC trying to silence or intimidate the opposition?
Simon Okechukwu, Social Commentator: INEC is completely right by banning all political parties from embarking on elections campaigns before the time. It should match this ban with action, which is the only thing that would convince Nigerians that the commission are not working for the presidency.
Compiled by Anayo Ezugwu
— Jun. 24, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT