By Joy Mbachi
Awka (NAN) The Anambra State Government on Monday declared that governorship aspirants in the state are to pay N9 million to government coffers for campaign posters or risk prosecution.
Chief Jude Emecheta, Managing Director, Anambra State Signage and Advertisement Agency (ANSAA), gave the warning at an interactive session with newsmen in Awka.
He said that each aspirant will pay N3million for the campaign posters in each of the three senatorial districts, making it N9 million per aspirant in the forthcoming governorship election in November.
Emecheta noted that the law did not permit pasting posters in every place without authorization, adding that the agency needed money to clean up the mess generated by such posters after the election.
The managing director said that the association was interested in not only the outdoor adverts but also in ensuring that such election posters and other campaign materials did not deface strategic locations in the state.
He also disclosed that a public enlightenment on the modalities for putting up election posters would commence from February.
He said that the enlightenment would enable politicians know that they could not paste election posters on such places as public buildings, electric poles, bridges, road dividers and roundabouts, among others.
Emecheta said that the agency would guide politicians and their supporters on where to paste election materials in the state.
He reiterated that politicians, who wished to put up billboards, must go through registered advertising agencies domiciled in the state.
Emecheta said that no poster or election material of the incumbent governor would be pasted without payment.
However, in a swift reaction, the Progressives People’s Alliance Party (PPA), has kicked against the directive, describing it as a sign that the government wants to use its machinery to suppress other contenders in the forthcoming polls.
The Chairman of PPA in the state, Chief Mathias Emeke, dismissed the claim that the incumbent Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, who is seeking re-election will also pay such “outrageous fee.”
He said that the public had been put on notice that the Anambra State Government doesn’t want healthy competition in the forthcoming gubernatorial election.
Emeke said such law will not fly because it is a constitutional matter which only the National Assembly can dictate and not even the state.
He said, “the beauty of democracy is in having a say and allowing the other, if not Obama should not have given Trump a chance.”
Emeke called for a level playing ground for politicians in the state so that the people can make their impressions by choosing their desired leader.
“Fixing of outrageous fees for party candidates publicly is a sign of government resentment for popular participation in the coming poll and it is unacceptable and reprehensible too.
“Government insistence on this wicked regulation is a recipe for people’s resistance which PPA shall support.
“Autocratic leadership is no more in vogue and there is no need to use state resources to fight people instead of making their lives better,” he said.
The state Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Emeka Ibe, said “it is exploitative, outrageous and was done to stop small parties from having candidates in the election.
“We are opposed to it,” he said.