INEC wants sponsors of posters arrested

By The Rainbow


The Independent National Electoral Commission is worried that some politicians and registered political parties have commenced campaigns ahead of the 2015 general elections.

The commission sees such acts   as threat to democracy.

The commission urged security agencies to arrest the violators of the Electoral Act 'whose activities in this regard pose a threat to public order.'

'The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has observed that some politicians and registered political parties have begun unbridled campaign towards the forthcoming General Election, thereby heating up the polity,' Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Kayode Idowu,  said  in a statement in Abuja on Sunday.

'It is observed that campaign posters are being indiscriminately displayed, while electioneering broadcasts are being aired outside the statutory provision for campaigning towards elections into various elective offices. This trend is unhealthy and portends ill for the political process. Indeed, it is a threat to Nigeria's democracy.'

The Commission there reminded all players of the provision of Section 99(1) of the Electoral Act 2010 (As Amended), which states as follows: For the purpose of this Act, the period of campaigning in public by every political party shall commence 90 days before polling day and end 24 hours prior to that day.

'Political parties are advised to note that campaigning outside this provision is a violation of the law, and the Commission will not hesitate to apply appropriate sanctions against culprits as provided by relevant sections of the law,' the statement added.

INEC also called on security agents to apprehend violators whose activities in this regard pose a threat to public order, and as well enjoined all parties to play strictly by the rules, as part of a collective effort to ensure the success of the 2015 elections.

The INEC spokesman also enjoined all political parties to play strictly by the rules, as part of a collective effort to ensure the success of the 2015 elections.

The appearance of campaign posters, ahead of INEC's schedule began in January this year with all-glossy campaign posters of President Goodluck Jonathan, which were strategically pasted in some areas of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja courtesy of South South Action Group.

The series of posters had different inscriptions which read: '2015: no vacancy in Aso Rock. Let's do more,' 'One good term deserves another,' and 'Support Dr. Goodluck Azikiwe Jonathan for 2015 presidency.'

The President, however, denied having anything to do with the posters.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati said the President had not launched any campaign.

Barely a month after, in February other campaign posters of the president flooded the streets of Abuja. The posters were canvassing support for Jonathan to seek a second term in 2015.

The posters, which were sponsored by a little-known group, Nigerians Unity Project, were conspicuously displayed on walls in Wuse, Garki and bus stops in and around the Federal Secretariat, Abuja.

Also in mid-April, giant campaign posters announcing the candidature of the Jigawa State Governor, Sule Lamido and his Rivers State counterpart, Rotimi Amaechi, for the 2015 presidential election flooded strategic locations in Ibadan, the capital of Oyo State.

The posters strategically pasted in the highbrow areas of the city mentioned the Youth Coalition for Better Nigeria as their sponsor.

The posters were seen in Mokola Roundabout, Eleyele, Ring Road, Old-Ife, Alakia, Yidi, Iwo-Road Roundabout, among others in the metropolis.

Last month, the issue took another twist as campaign posters of the governors of Katsina and Akwa Ibom states, Ibrahim Shema and Godswill Akpabio appeared on the major streets of Lagos.

The posters which had the message 'Hope, Action and Change,' had Governor Shema as a presidential aspirant with Akpabio as his running mate. But the sources of the campaign posters remained unknown as the parties involved vehemently denied their association with the posters.

Also last week, campaign posters of former Head of State, Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd.) joined the list of those displaying their campaign posters ahead of the 2015 election.

The posters announced Buhari as the sole candidate of the unregistered All Progressives Congress (APC) ahead of the 2015 elections. It took over the city of Abuja on Monday.

The posters on walls, trees and flyovers at the popular AYA roundabout, Asokoro and Maitama districts of the capital city announced the intention of the former general to lead the country again.

Buhari and others whose names were mentioned in the saga have denied involvement. In fact they all ascribed the act as the handiwork of mischief-makers.