Remember the Offences of Broadcast of Election Result Under the Electoral Act

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On the polling day of 23rd day of February, 2019, which was the date that the Presidential and the National Assembly Elections were held, some persons have been broadcasting election results at polling unit(s) through the media and these broadcast continues in that media and via the social media. I wish to remind such persons of the offence of broadcast of election result under the Electoral Act, 2010.

Sections: 101(1) and 102 of the Electoral Act, 2010, prohibits broadcast of election results as follows ‘101 (1) A  person,  print  or  electronic  medium  that broadcasts,  publishes,  advertises or  circulates  any  material  for  the  purpose  of  promoting  or  opposing  a particular political party or the election of a particular candidate   over   the   radio,   television,   newspaper, magazine,  handbill,  or  any  print  or  electronic  media whatsoever   called   during 24   hours   immediately preceding or on polling day commits an offence under this Act. (2) Where an offence under subsection (1) of this section is  committed  by  a  body  corporate,  every  principal officer  of  that  body  is  equally  guilty  of  an  offence under this Act. (3) Where  any  person  is  convicted  of  an  offence  under this section he shall be liable- (a) in the case of a body corporate to a maximum fine of N1,000,000;  and (b) in  the  case  of an  individual  to  a  maximum  fine of N500,000  or  to  imprisonment  for  a  term  of  12 months. 102.  A  candidate,  person  or  association  who  engages  in campaigning or broadcasting based on religious, tribal or  sectional  reason  for  the  purpose  of  promoting  or opposing a particular political party or the election of a particular candidate, commits an offence under this Act  and  is  liable  on  conviction  to  a  maximum  fine  of N1,000,000 or imprisonment for a term of 12 months or to both.’.

Perhaps, the intendment of the law maker, apart from propaganda or opposition a political party’s opponent is to ensure that every person awaits the final results or compilation of election results finally compiled and made available by Independent National Electoral Commission after the polling day. So, in my humble advice, Nigerians inclusive of lawyers should be patient to await INEC’s declaration of results generally and officially before broadcasting that any of the political parties or their candidates won at a particular polling unit (regardless of what interest such persons have in the political party or its candidate) to avoid prosecution. The only exception here in my humble submission is the accredited observers by INEC who report to a situation room on what has been observed in the election, the result or observation which is not broadcast to the public via the media and any of such observer who breaches this law against broadcast too is not exempted from prosecution.

Finally, these provisions against broadcast are applicable to all the elections in Nigeria.

 

e-mail: hameed_ajibola@yahoo.com

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