Appeal To Gov Obiano To Remove Extortionate Campaign Billboard Tariff For Anambra Election
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My name is Osita Chidoka. I am running for the November 18, 2017 governorship election in Anambra State on the platform of the United Progressives Party (UPP).
I want to draw the attention of all Nigerians to the decision by Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State to use extortionate charges to exclude other candidates from the governorship election. He has ordered a tariff regime requiring a candidate to pay not less than N235 million for the erection of campaign billboards and pasting posters in the 3 Senatorial zones, claiming that the money will be used to clean up the state after the election.
Under the draconian tariff, candidates are required to pay N5 million per view side of Unipoles; N5 millon per view side of gantries and bridge panels; and N10 million for LEDs. The state is also charging the candidates N5 million for posters per senatorial zone, N2 million per Federal Constituency and N500, 000 per Local Government. Our state has three senatorial zone, 11 federal constituencies and 21 Local Government Areas.
If my campaign were to erect 3 Unipoles billboards per Local government, the 21 Local Governments in the state will cost us N315 Million in fees to the Anambra State Government. We cannot afford this outrageous cost whose purpose can only be to exclude law-abiding candidates. More so when the Governor's Party had seized private Billboards throughout the state for their ongoing campaign without paying the owners of the Billbords not to talk of paying the exorbitant state fees.
This decision is completely undemocratic and against the basic philosophy of fair play in an election. We know that the fundamental idea of democracy and elections is to freely present the masses with choices. So asking us to pay these impossible fees for billboards is an infringement on the entitlements of the candidates and the citizens alike.
Even General Sani Abacha, who as military head of state in 1998 was nominated by all the political parties, did not ask other contenders to pay such fees. Not even Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, in his quest to retain office had adopted such an undemocratic method. Governor Obiano himself was not made to pay such exorbitant fees when he was contesting in 2013.
If indeed Governor Obiano wants some money to clean up the state after the elections, he should go to his monthly security vote and take just 10 percent for that purpose instead of using it as a ploy to obstruct credible and more popular candidates in the race.
I therefore request all Nigerians, irrespective of political affiliations to support my plea by signing this online petition to get Governor Obiano to rescind his decision and allow for fair contest without any encumbrances. Democracy is on trial in Anambra state. Silence is dangerous. Lend your voice against creeping dictatorship, sign the petition.
United Progressives Party (UPP)
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