BusinessDay

PDP debunks ban on erection of APC campaign billboards, by Edo govt

Edo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Wednesday debunked the allegation making the rounds that the state government banned other political parties from erecting campaign billboards across the state.

Chris Nehikhare, the Deputy Director, Media/Publicity, Edo State PDP management campaign council for the 2023 general election, made the clarification at a press briefing in Benin City.

Recall that one Ibrahim Momoh, a member of the Billboards’ Association in Edo State had on Tuesday alleged that the state governor Godwin Obaseki had banned the erection of campaign billboards of the All Progressives Congress in the state.

Momoh also alleged that the governor even threatened to confiscate the billboard of any defaulter of the directive.

When contacted, the State Director, Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON), Abdul Hakeem Tiamiyu, said he had the same complaints from billboard owner on the matter.

Nehikhare at a press briefing noted that the state government only made policy to regulate the erection of billboards and pasting of other political campaign materials in the state.

He explained that the state government did not sponsor the erection of billboards during the recent presidential rally of the party in the state.

He said the campaign billboards were sponsored by the state party’s campaign council.

According to him, in the last 24 hours we received several calls from members of the press especially those working in the national dailies with sensational headlines that Edo State Government banned other political parties from erecting campaign billboards in the state.

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“We do not control billboard or the agents of billboard. What we do is to have policy in place that the erection of billboards are not causing nuisance on our streets.

“We are not agencies of billboards or owners of billboards but we control where they are located.

“It is not coincident that elections are near the corner. As far back as about a year ago, the state PDP campaign council made payment with quite a numbers of billboards across Benin metropolis.

“If the billboard agent has taken money from you and cannot put your billboard you better go and get your money.

“Edo state government did not sponsor or pay for political campaign billboards rally. The money was contributed by members of the PDP campaign council in which I am a member. And, today, I am a member of the state management campaign council.

“We are the ones who raised the money to pay for the campaign billboard. It is not by the Edo state government. The party was more strategic to plan ahead because the date was obvious to everybody when the election will kick off.

“And, we knew that this day will come. We take advantage of the time and made payment for most of these billboards,” he said.

Nehikhare, who is the State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, while speaking on the ongoing verification of land owners at the reclaimed land at Irhihi-Obagie areas, said over 400 persons have come up for verification.

While commending the people of the state for cooperating with the state government on its land reforms, he noted that the exercise was geared towards ensuring that there is no urban slum in the state as in the case with some area in Benin metropolis.

The State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, who said the exercise is a continuous on, added that the state government will not stop at nothing to ensure that those behind the land grabbing are arrested and prosecuted while the victims are compensated.