INEC bans campaigns in schools, worship centres, pegs donation limit at N50m

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Thursday banned political parties from campaigning in schools and worship centres.

This is contained in two guidelines – ‘Finances and Election Expenses of Parties’ and ‘Conduct of Political Rallies and Campaigns’ – released on Thursday, about two months after campaigns already kicked off.

The electoral body also pegged campaign donation limit at N50 million, the maximum amount of money that should be donated or accepted.

“The maximum amount of money or other assets that an individual, a group of individuals or an entity can donate to a political party or aspirant for an election shall be N50,000,000 (fifty million Naira only),” the document stated.

“A Political Party shall not accept any monetary or other contribution which is more than N50,000,000 except it identifies and discloses the source of the contribution to the Commission.”

Also, contributions to candidates by an individual or entity shall be from 150 days allowed for campaigns to Election Day while contribution to aspirants by an individual or entity shall be from the date notice of election is published to the conclusion of Party Primaries.

The guideline reiterates provisions in the 2022 Electoral Act which restrict expenses by presidential candidates to N5 billion while governorship candidates are not allowed to incur more than N1 billion in election expenses.

The maximum amount of election expenses to be incurred by a candidate in respect of Senatorial and House of Representatives seat remain N100,000,000 and N70,000,000, respectively.

Others are State Assembly election candidates, N30,000,000; Area Council chairmanship, N30,000,000; and Councillorship candidates, N5,000,000.

The election expenses for political parties are segmented into three, namely: Expenses for management of aspirants and party primaries which “shall not exceed two-third (2/3) of the limits prescribed for candidates’ expenses” and Expenses for candidates and conduct of elections which should “not exceed two-third the limit of election expenses of each Candidate multiplied by the number of Candidates the Political Party shall sponsor in a particular election for elective positions”

In the guideline for conduct of political campaigns and rallies, the INEC mandates that “A Political Party shall, for purpose of political rally or procession, issue in writing a notice to the Commissioner of Police of the State or the Federal Capital Territory indicating the exact venue and time of the rally or procession and pledging peaceful conduct and control against violence or public nuisance.

“Political Parties shall transmit to the Commission, through the Electoral Officer at the Local Government Area and the Resident Electoral Commissioner at the State, via a designated portal and also in hard copy, details of the schedule of their political rallies and processions at least 10 days to the date of the political rally or procession.”

Where there is clash over venues, date and time of campaigns among political parties, INEC requires such parties and their representatives to meet in the presence of the commission and the police to resolve the issues.

“No political rally or procession shall hold in places designated as religious centres, police stations and public institutions.

“Political rallies or processions shall not involve the use of abusive language or any form of hate speech.

“Political rallies or processions shall not involve the use of physical force or coercion by organised groups or individuals”, the electoral umpire added.