THE Ebonyi State governor, David Umahi, has sactioned the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state for contravening the provisions of the state’s Executive Order 3 of 2022.
Executive Order 3 prohibits political parties from using public places like schools, parks, and markets for political activities without seeking and obtaining due clearance from the state government.
The order for the fine the government imposed on the APC was contained in a statement signed by the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Uchenna Orji, on Sunday in Abakaliki.
According to the statement, Umahi was saddened by political parties’ continuous pasting of posters on electric poles, meridians, concrete roads, and on flyover bridges.
“These parties include the APC, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) the Labour Party (LP) and the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
“When the APC flagged off its presidential and governorship campaigns in the state, it littered the infrastructures with posters, and that made other political parties follow suit.
“Most of the critical infrastructure have been littered with posters against the laws of the state government and the Executive Order regarding the pasting of posters and billboards,’’ the statement noted.
Orji noted that Gov. Umahi had consequently decided to use his political party, the APC, to set an example as a deterrent to others.
“The party is thus fined N5 million for contravening the law and the Executive Order. The APC must pay the money to the state’s Internally Generated Revenue account and obtain a receipt.
“The party should publish the payment in all media platforms, including the social media, before December 31 or risk paying a default fee of N50 million,’’ the statement read.
Umahi also ordered the APC to remove all posters on pasted infrastructures before December 31.
“The Governor has decided to forgive all other political parties and appeal to them to remove their posters on critical infrastructures before December 31. They are to desist forthwith from defacing our facilities or face a similar penalty like the APC in Ebonyi.
“The governor appeals to all political parties not to take this benevolence as a sign of weakness. Government will seal all secretariats and campaign offices of parties that fail to remove their posters or desist from continuous pasting of posters on critical infrastructure,’’ he warned.
Orji stated also that Umahi had banned all street campaigns in the state.
“He has directed all local government area chairmen, the Commissioner for Youths and Sports, and the Commissioner for Education, among other aides, to process all applications of political parties intending to use infrastructures for campaigns.
“Any political party that is denied such opportunity and has complied with the laws of the state and the Executive Order must report to the state governor.
“Affected parties can also report to the Commissioner of Police or the Director of the State Security Service within 24 hours for immediate approval,’’ the statement read.
Nurudeen Akewushola is an investigative reporter and fact-checker with The ICIR. He believes courageous in-depth investigative reporting is the key to social justice, accountability and good governance in the society. You can shoot him a scoop via [email protected] and @NurudeenAkewus1 on Twitter.