Mar 26, 2015

OFFENCES ON ELECTION DAY



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Yippee, elections are finally here after the 6 week postponement and all the campaign wahala debates, rallies and mud-slinging  electioneering.  Obviously, the Presidential elections will be a battle majorly between Goodluck Jonathan and Buhari while other state governorship and national assembly elections will have various contestants from other political parties who are not with the PDP or the APC have some political ground. 

As we all go out to cast our votes, it is very important that we embrace peace and a free and fair election procedure, please do not cause or promote any katakata disorderly acts and if you insist on doing so, kindly remember that “any person who at an election acts or incites others to act in a disorderly manner commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a maximum fine of N500,000.00 or imprisonment for a term of 12 months or both” – Section 128 of the Electoral Act. So the ball is in court, peaceful election on one hand and one year in prison with a fine on the other, please choose wisely. 

There are many other things you shouldn’t be caught doing on Election Day, these are stated in Section 129 of the 2010 Electoral Act, and the law provides that:


 
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-     No person shall on the date on which an election is held do any of the following acts or things in a polling unit or within a distance of 300 meters of a polling unit –
a.     Canvass for votes;

b.    Solicit for the vote of any voter;
c.      Persuade any voter not to vote for any particular candidate;
d.    Persuade any voter not to vote at the election;
e.     Shout slogans concerning the election;
f.       Be in possessionof any offensive weapon or wear any dress or have any facial or other decoration which in any event is calculated to intimidate voters;
g.    Exhibit, wear or tender any notice, symbol, photograph or prty card referring to the election;
h.    Use any vehicle bearing the colour or symbol of a political party by any means whatsoever;
i.       Loiter without lawful excuse after voting or after being refused to vote;
j.        Snatch or destroy any election materials, and
k.    Blare siren. 

But that’s actually not all, as the law further states that no one within the vicinity of a polling unit or collation centre on the day of election should  convene, hold or attend any public meetings during the hours of polling, unless appointed to make official statement, neither shall anyone carry any badge, poster, banner, flag or symbol of any political party.  Any person who contravenes any of the provision of this section commits an offence and is liable on conviction to N100,000.00 or imprisonment for 6 months.  Moreover, anyone who destroys or snatches election material is liable to imprisonment for 24 months. I look forward to the results of the elections and I am sure you do as well. While we wait, do share this blog with everyone you know who will be voting on Election Day or will be coming out to watch the polling.

Adedunmade Onibokun
@adedunmade/twitter
Adedunmade Onibokun is a legal practitioner, publisher and blogger based in Lagos, Nigeria. He holds an LLM in International Business Law from the University of Bradford and publishes the Nigerian law blog Legalnaija.



 
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