A civil society organization, Committee for the Protection of Peoples Mandate (CPPM) has petitioned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over a breach of the 2022 Electoral Act by Mr Olajide Adediran the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial candidate in Lagos, his deputy Ms Funke Akindele, a house of representatives candidate Mr Bankole Wellington aka Banky W. and others whom it accused of engaging in political campaigns of canvassing voters in utter violation of the law via a documentary to commemorate the 2022 International Youth Day on Friday 12th of August 2022 which was aired on a national television station (Arise TV).
According to the petition which was accompanied by evidence of complaints and signed by CPPM executive chairman, Nelson Ekujumi, dated 15th August 2022 and addressed to the Chairman of INEC Prof Mahmud Yaqub of which an acknowledgement was received from the electoral umpire on the 16th of August 2022, the organization accused the Lagos State gubernatorial candidate of the PDP Mr Olajide Adediran and others of wilfully and flagrantly violating not only section 94 (1) of the Electoral Act, but also the publicly published INEC guidelines on the 2023 elections by commencing political campaigns well ahead of the official kick off date.
The group noted that section 94 (1) of the 2022 Electoral Act states, “For the purpose of this Act, the period of campaigning in public by every political party shall commence 150 days before polling day and end 24 hours prior to that day”.
It added that the publication of the 2023 Election guidelines by the independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has scheduled Gubernatorial and States House of Assembly elections campaigns to hold between October 12 2022 – March 9 2023, therefore, CPPM is of the strong view that by engaging in this act of lawlessness by it’s brazen disregard for the laws governing our elections and democracy, Mr Olajide Adediran, his deputy Ms Funke Akindele, Mr Bankole Wellington and others and their party must be made to face the full weight of the law for bringing Nigeria’s democracy to opprobrium.
The group specifically stated that it was motivated to petition the electoral umpire because of “it’s concern with upholding the sanctity and integrity of Nigeria’s democratic process by the stakeholders at all time, but which unfortunately and sadly has been imperiled by the conduct of Mr. Olajide Adediran, his deputy Ms Funke Akindele, Mr Bankole Wellington aka Banky W and others and is afraid that such a conduct, if replicated by other parties and candidates, is an invitation to a breakdown of law and order which is unacceptable and condemnable”.
CPPM stated that it is worried and alarmed that despite knowing fully well the provisions of the 2022 Electoral Act and published INEC guidelines, but still going ahead to campaign well ahead of the official commencement date, is a pointer to the character of Mr. Olajide Adediran, his deputy Ms Funke Akindele, Mr Bankole Wellington aka Banky W. and others as persons who have no regard for the law, subsequently, the civil society organization is calling for appropriate response according to law to be meted to them to serve as a deterrent to other candidates and party’s who might want to toe the same line of lawlessness and undermine our democracy and national security.
The group however noted that it is aware that Nigerian youths are law abiding citizens who are desirous of contributing their own quota to national development in a lawful manner and would not in anyway want to be associated with the conduct of this violators of the Electoral Act and published INEC guidelines on 2023 general elections.
CPPM then called on INEC to live up to it’s constitutional responsibility of holding every stakeholder accountable to play according to the rules of engagement by meting out appropriate sanctions to violators according to law.
Yours Sincerely,Nelson Ekujumi,Executive Chairman