***Says It Will Never Subject To Rules Contrary To laws of Nigeria
The campaign decrees recently issued under the guise of guidelines for the use of campaign materials by the administration of the All-Progressives Congress (APC) and Governor Yahaya Bello in Kogi State is a vexatious, undemocratic and unrealistic attempt to evade contest, constrain the democratic field and stir-fry other political parties out of visibility before the November 11, 2023 gubernatorial election in Kogi State.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) summarily rejects the repugnant, pugnacious, and unlawful guidelines of Bello and urges other parties as well as democratic lovers and institutions to reject these wicked rules.
The illegal, unacceptable and impractical exclusion of certain Local Government Areas and towns, known to be the strongholds of the PDP, including, Ijumu and Ankpa Local Government Areas where the PDP candidate, Senator Dino Melaye, and his running mate, Hon Habibat Mohammed Deen, hail from respectively further exposes Yahaya Bello’s desperation in the face of soaring popularity of our candidates.
Such feeble and childish attempt by Yahaya Bello to close the campaign field against the PDP in the State further reveals that the APC has reached its wits end, having become deflated by the crushing rejection of the people ahead of the election.
Moreover, the PDP rejects the obnoxious and draconian imposition of a general payment of N5,000,000 (five million naira) for outdoor campaign materials, N2,000,000 (two million naira) for every billboard, N1,000,000 (one million naira) for every banner deployed and another N50,000,000 (fifty million naira) to be deposited as caution security. Our party insists that such devìse is a calculated attempt by the weakened APC administration in Kogi State to defraud the opposition in the State.
Under the inoperable, illegal guidelines, the PDP, which has deployed over 50 banners in each of the 21 Local Government Areas of the State, will be expected to pay N1,050,000,000 (one billion and fifty million naira) as signage fees alone. It is laughable that this figure already exceeds the entire expenditure threshold of N1b (one billion naira) prescribed for Gubernatorial election under Section 88 (3) of the Electoral Act, 2022.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the good people of Nigeria are invited to note that the campaign decrees of APC and Governor Yahaya Bello are being rolled out two months after INEC had announced the lifting of the ban on political campaigns.
It is also instructive to note that our party has since deployed our regenerative campaign materials, making the purported guidelines retroactive, inapplicable, and inappropriate.
The terms of the guidelines by the Bello administration are, to say the least, restrictive, unimaginative, and clandestine.
Contrary to the provisions of Section 95 (2) of the Electoral Act, 2022 that no state apparatus, including the media, should be used to the advantage or disadvantage of any political party or candidate at any election, Governor Yahaya Bello has employed the KOSSA to prescribe ridiculous, untenable, and unreasonable fees for campaign materials, including an obnoxious caution deposit.
What Bello seeks to achieve is to acquire an illegal authority to vandalise campaign materials, having realized that his Party and his handpicked candidate have neither the record nor a demonstrable performance to display or any electoral value to be canvassed on billboards and banners.
The laws of Nigeria allow candidates of all parties to campaign freely without any hindrance. In view of its illegality, incompetence as well as the conflict with the provisions of the electoral Act 2022 and its retroactive emergence, the guidelines for campaign materials issued by the Kogi State Signage and Advertisement Agency is recommended for thrashing in the garbage bin where it belongs.
The guidelines were conceived in bad faith and out of tune with contemporary democratic ethos. It is another anti-people design by the failed administration of Yahaya Bello. The PDP, as a lawful Party, will not subject itself to any rule that is contrary to the laws of the Federation.
Sen. Dino Melaye Media Team