Why INEC can’t act on Jonathan’s posters
By Soni Daniel, Regional Editor, North
As controversy continues to trail the emergence of the campaign posters of President Goodluck Jonathan, the Independent Electoral Commission, INEC, Sunday, advanced reasons why it could not act on the posters.
Chairman of the Commission, Prof Attahiru Jega, said that there was nothing the commission could do about posters displayed randomly by unknown persons in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
The Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Mr. Kayode Idowu, told Vanguard that the action of the masterminds of the controversial posters fell within the region of crime and public order, which should be handled by security agencies and not INEC.
According to Idowu, the commission does not deal with unknown elements but with registered political parties in the discharge of its duties as enshrined in the law.
The chairman’s spokesman pointed out that since neither the People Democratic Party nor the President has owned up to the posters, there was nothing it could do.
“If an identifiable party or persons acting for a party campaign outside the purview of the law, then it becomes a matter of interest to INEC. The present scenario does not add up,” Idowu said.
Section 99 (1) of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended prescribes 90 days before election for campaign by political parties in Nigeria.
Section 30 of the EA also mandates INEC to issues a notice of poll, which normally indicates the timetable for campaign.
The commission says it has neither issued any notice nor timetable for the 2015 and therefore has no legal basis to go after the sponsors of the unsigned posters.
It will be recalled that the re-election posters, which have since been disowned by the Presidency, hit the streets of Abuja on January 1, 2013 and have continued to generated debate on the 2015 poll.
One of the posters, which had President Goodluck Jonathan’s portrait read, 2015: No vacancy in Aso Rock. Let’s do more. One good term deserves another. Support Dr. Goodluck Azikiwe Jonathan for 2015 Presidency.
Political Adviser to the President, Alhaji Ahmed Gulak, disowned the posters saying that they did not emanate from the presidency and that “the president has not authorised anybody to print any campaign poster for him as regards 2015 elections”.
He declared that the president had been “pre-occupied with working to fix Nigeria and did not want to be distracted by undue politicking about 2015”.