The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Bauchi State has warned that any political party or politician who used religious sentiments for their campaigns would pay N1 million fine or face 12 months of imprisonment.
This came following allegations that some politicians who were threatening some PDP supporters in Darazo Local Government for their choice of presidential candidate.
The State INEC Administrative Secretary, Emmanuel Umenger made this known, yesterday, during an interactive session with stakeholders in the local government, including traditional leaders, security agents, NYSC members and party leaders, as part of the commission’s familiarization tour of the 20 local government areas in the state.
According to the secretary, the commission detests electioneering campaigns based on religious sentiments. He therefore warned that any political party that was caught in the act will be prosecuted.
“Section 102 of the electoral act as amended frowns against campaigns based on religious sentiments. Campaigns by political parties should be issue- based rather than along religious lines.
“The commission is equally against political parties intimidating the electorate based on their choice of candidates. Electorates are always at liberty to vote for any candidate they chose and should not be threatened because of their choices,” Umenger said.
Speaking at the interactive session, the new state INEC Commissioner, Professor Hamman Tukur Sa’ad condemned the intimidation of the electorates, saying that any threat to life or property should be reported to security agencies.
He warned against the politics of violence and urged local govrnment authorities not to interfere in the electoral process.