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21 Sep 2017

Fayose, APC aspirants risk sanction for billboards

Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose, his deputy, Prof. Kolapo Olusola, and some All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship aspirants risk getting penalised for allegedly campaigning ahead of the time stipulated by law for the 2018 election.

The new Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Prof. AbdulGaniy Olayinka Raji, addressed reporters yesterday in his office in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital.

He spoke after holding a stakeholders’ meeting with leaders of political parties under the auspices of Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC).

The REC also said about 221,000 Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) had not been collected by eligible voters in the state.

Raji said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was empowered by law to prosecute politicians who engaged in any form of “early campaign” before the time allowed by law.

Fayose has erected billboards bearing his pictures and those of his deputy in which he referred to Olusola as “Your Next Governor”.

Governorship aspirants of other parties also mounted billboards and banners in front of their campaign offices, on the major roads and boundaries of Ekiti with other neighbouring states.

He noted that the act of erecting campaign billboards before the ban on open campaign is lifted constitutes an electoral offence punishable by fine and jail term if the offender is found guilty.

Raji also frowned against running of campaign jingles on the electronic media and placing of campaign adverts in the newspapers which he said violate electoral law.

All these infractions, he said, violates Section 99 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).

Raji said: “All these acts are not in line with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 and the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).

“Activities that look like campaign are against the Constitution and people should desist from them. Media houses should scrutinise jingles and adverts that may implicate them.

“Any offender convicted is liable to a maximum fine of N500,000 and a jail term at the discretion of the judge. The law also permits INEC to remove such billboards.”

Raji advised political parties to join hands with INEC to ensure the success of the 2018 governorship poll in Ekiti State.

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