The candidates of opposition political parties in Imo State have criticized alleged N54 million fees imposed on each of them by Governor Hope Uzodinma for permission to campaign for the state’s forthcoming November 11 governorship election.
The state Chairman of the Inter-Party Advisory Council, Imo State, Chief Uchendu Ahaneku, who spoke on behalf of the opposition parties in Owerri, regarded the policy as obnoxious and a violation of Nigeria’s Electoral Act and constitution.
They stressed that it was a plot by the All Progressive Congress led-government to kill opposition parties and ensure it is only APC thrives in the state.
The IPAC-G12 is made up of all 12 political parties in the state.
Reports revealed that political parties are required to obtain a permit with a payment of N54 million before erecting campaign structures, including billboards, posters, and other campaign means, according to a document presented to journalists that allegedly came from the Imo Signage and Advertisement Agency, IMSAA, and was signed by its General Manager.
Candidates were also required to pay N100,000 as a form/processing charge, N50,000 for a site inspection, and N150,000 as an approval fee, according to a document titled “Schedule of Rates and Terms for Political Advertising and Ancillary Signage Displays in Imo State for Gubernatorial Campaigns 2023.”
The contract further stated that, even after funds had been made, IMSAA reserved the authority to decline clearance to construct campaign structures.
Ahaneku criticized the strategy as offensive and contravening Nigeria’s electoral law and constitution.
While lamenting the fact that since the state’s founding there had never been such a move against the opposition parties, he said the IPAC-G12 would not think twice about taking the state government to court if it does not reverse the decision, pleading with Uzodimma to call the agency to order.