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Candidates of opposition political parties who are contesting the Imo State governorship election will have to pay over ₦54 million each to the state government before they will be allowed to campaign for the forthcoming November 11 governorship election in the state.
In a press conference that was monitored by The Eastern Updates yesterday, the Chairmen of opposition parties in the state raised the alarm over such outrageous fees imposed on them.
They characterised it as a state government effort to strangle opposition parties and make sure that only the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, flourishes in the state.
They are governed by the Imo State Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC-G12), which is made up of 12 political parties.
In a document presented to journalists which purportedly emanated from the Imo Signage and Advertisement Agency, IMSAA, and signed by its General Manager; political parties are required to seek a permit with the sum of ₦54 million before erecting campaign structures, including billboards, posters, and other campaign means.
The document titled – ‘Schedule of Rates and Terms for Political Advertising and Ancillary Signage Displays in Imo State for Gubernatorial Campaigns 2023’, also mandated candidates to pay the sum of N100,000 as Form/Processing Fee; 50,000 for site inspection and N150,000 as approval fee.
The document also had a proviso that IMSAA reserves the right to reject approval of the erection of campaign structures even after the payments.
Chairman of IPAC-G12, Imo State, Chief Uchendu Ahaneku described the policy as obnoxious and a violation of the Electoral Act and constitutional of Nigeria.
Urging Governor Hope Uzodinma to call the agency to order, Ahaneku said IPAC-G12 will not hesitate to drag the state government to court if it does not rescind the decision.
He lamented that there had never been such a move against the opposition parties since the creation of the state.
Accord Party, PDP, Labour Party, APGA, Action Alliance, ADC, NNPP, SDP, YPP, ADC, APP were represented in the conference.