Dr. Kachi Nwoga, candidate for governor of the Action Democratic Party (ADP), has spoken out against the Imo State government’s decision to charge opposition parties N54 million to put up campaign billboards before the election on November 11.
On Monday, Nwoga met with a small group of journalists in Abuja, where he expressed his frustration that the state’s ruling party did not give its political opponents any room to operate.
It was an immoral and repulsive fee, he said.
The candidate for governor said, “The opposition is not permitted to breathe. If I wanted to put up a billboard right now, I wouldn’t be able to because they’re demanding N54 million naira from me.
I don’t think anyone can charge this much in any state, even if you convert the currency. It’s revolting, repulsive, and morally repugnant. That is the price they want their adversaries to pay.
Since one person’s face is on billboards across the entire state, I’d like to know how much money the state has made off of him or her.
Additionally, Nwoga said that State officials were seizing branded cars used by political parties in opposition in the State for failing to obtain a gubernatorial advert licence.
For their governor’s race advertising and signage displays, the Imo State administration had demanded N54 million from the opposition parties through the Imo Signage and Advertisement Agency (IMSAA).
In a letter dated June 7, 2023, the agency’s general manager, Hon. Chibuzor Umunnakwe, informed several political parties taking part in the upcoming governorship election in the State.
According to a letter titled “Schedule of rates and terms for political advertising and ancillary signage displays in Imo State for gubernatorial campaigns,” parties seeking permission to put up billboards or conduct any kind of campaign must first submit an application to the agency.
Despite the letter’s June 7 date, the agency insisted that all political advertising, out-of-home display of campaign materials, and ancillary goods for gubernatorial campaigns in the state were subject to the new rates and terms and conditions beginning on April 2, 2023.
Candidates for public office who want to use outdoor/public displays for their campaigns must first receive, complete, and submit an IMSAA application for outdoor political campaign advertisement.
Billboard locations, including those available for hire, should be listed on the form or sent separately. If the candidate or their backers are going to construct the sites, then they should be considered temporary.
Once the information on this form has been reviewed and approved, the candidate will submit money in the manner detailed below.
If the IMSAA is satisfied with the candidate’s procedures, they will issue a letter of conformity.
UmunnakOur previous statement put the cost of the application at N100,000 and the cost of a “gubernatorial Campaign Permit fee N54,000,000.”
The permit is not transferable and will expire 30 days after the election, according to a separate notice provided to rival political parties by the agency.
It went on to say, “Before erecting an advertisement structure, posting, or displaying any political advertisements or messaging in imo State, all candidates who have been put forward by their respective parties to compete for elective positions must obtain a permit from IMSAA.”
The candidate may now place political signs in designated regions of Imo State per the terms of the permit. The candidate’s permission is only valid for the duration of their election campaign and will expire 30 days after the election.
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