The ruling All Progressives Congress has described as fair the N5 million penalty slammed on the party by the Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, over the indiscriminate posting of campaign posters on public facility.
Umahi, who stated that he would use his own political party as scapegoat, stated that the action contravened the provisions of the state’s Executive Order 3 of 2022.
This was disclosed in a statement issued by Ebonyi Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Uchenna Orji, on Sunday in Abakaliki.
Orji, who claimed the move was an attempt by the state government to set an example, further explained that the ‘Executive Order 3’ prohibits political parties from using public places such as schools, parks, and markets for political activities without obtaining due clearance.
Reacting to the imposed fine, the Director of Publicity for APC, Bala Ibrahim, disclosed that the governor’s action was fair enough.
Ibrahim believed that the ultimate aim of the executive order was to restore sanity and ensure that public spaces are free from nuisance.
He said, “It is okay. I think Umahi’s action is fair enough. It represents that popular idiom of ‘charity beginning at home.’ Depending on how you look at it, what is this executive order meant to achieve? You have to look at the intended value of that Executive Order 3. Is it for the better or larger interest of the public? Then so be it.
“But if the opposition thinks it is to disrupt campaign or deprive some political opponents, they equally have the right to go to court and challenge it.
“I think what the governor did was to reduce the nuisance of turning public places with billboards into a littering space.”
When asked if the ruling party is contented with being used as scapegoat while other parties are left off the hooks, Ibrahim noted that the message is clear enough.
The APC director further told The PUNCH that the governor’s decision to punish his own party was enough proof of the extent he is determined to go if such violation continues.
“I think he is only trying to show example by being so benevolent in forgiving and exempting other parties from payment of penalties. That is okay to me.
“It should, however, be seen in the light of a warning, knowing there is a stiffer penalty of N50m awaiting them if such act repeats itself in the state.
“Everything should be done in the interest of fairness,” he said.