Critical stakeholders in the nation have asked political actors in the country to imbibe issue-based campaigns and de-emphasize division and hate speech.


The stakeholders spoke at an occasion coordinated by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) on Monday in Abuja, with the theme ‘Political communication and issue-based campaigns in the 2023 general elections.

INEC had reported that political campaigns would officially commence on September 28, 2022, for next year’s general elections.

The Senate president, Ahmad Lawan, said since independence, elections in Nigeria have been described by polarizing rhetoric and deep-seated divisions relating to ethnicity, religion, and other primordial sentiments, and cautioned political actors against the trend.

“Recent developments in the country have once again exposed the sharp divide and the enduring legacy of our political history since amalgamation and independence in 1960.

“Rather than emphasize discussion on policy positions to address many of the social and economic challenges we face, we are engaged in frivolous, illogical, and sensational exchanges,” he said.


Speaker of the House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila said, “As we prepare to commence campaign activities precisely nine days from today (statutorily for a period of 150 days before polling day), it is critical that we familiarise ourselves with the rules of the game and set ourselves a basic standard of conduct mainly because of our place as leaders and the weight that our utterances carry among our supporters and followers.”


In his comments, a previous Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, said Nigerians have experienced bad governance since 1999, adding that there was the need for the people to be wise in the next election.


He cautioned politicians against hate speech and urged them to change their mindset.


Additionally, the Catholic Diocesan of Sokoto Diocese, Bishop Mathew Kukah, said the serious issue of Nigeria was the manner by which to deal with the nation’s diversity, and cautioned political actors against division, hate speech, and primordial sentiments.

In his welcome remarks, the Director-General of NILDS, Prof. Abubakar Sulaiman, said the event was necessary “due to the rise in misinformation and fake news, propagation, and exploitation of ethno-religious sentiments, upsurge in hate messages and the use of negative tactics that continue to escalate tension and potentially fuel political crises.”



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