Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman, Prof Attahiru Jega, has urged political parties and their candidates to follow best practices in their advertising ahead of the 2015 elections.
Jega spoke at the weekend in Abuja during an international seminar on: Political Advertising, Perception Building and Voter Education at the Yar’Adua Centre, organised by Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN).
Jega said: “As we approach the general elections in February 2015, no effort should be spared by stakeholders in promoting civic enlightenment among the electorate and global best practices among the political elite. One of the major requirements of liberal democracy is mobilisation and participation of the people in the process. We should learn about international best practices in grassroots mobilisation, perception building and voter education.”
The INEC chairman said the commission had revised the regulations in its Code of Conduct for political advertisements and campaigns to ensure strict compliance among parties and their candidates.
He said: “It is very important that we regulate and sanitise our campaigns. A lot of that sanitation can be done without regulation, if only politicians can change their attitudes and mindsets. But we in INEC have revised the regulations governing campaigns and we have already shared a draft of those guidelines with political parties.
“We hope to finalise it and, very soon, we will put it into effect so that political parties will know clearly where to draw the lines and the sanctions that would apply, if they do not act according to the rules and regulations.
“I think what this seminar has shown is that you can learn a good practice from other countries and factor it into your own preparations. It is very important that we sanitise the electoral process and political campaigns. They should be research-based, well informed and expertise should be brought to bear in the preparation and conduct of political campaigns.”
All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) National Chairman Victor Umeh said political advertising is critical to electioneering process.
He urged advertising practitioners to collect the code of conduct already signed by political parties at the INEC headquarters.