Awka – Anambra State Government has vowed to prosecute Governorship candidates who unlawfully place campaign materials on any billboard within the state without getting approval from the relevant authorities.
The Managing Director of Anambra State Signage and Advertisement, Chief Jude Emecheta disclosed this in an exclusive chat with TNC correspondent in Anambra on Sunday, in reaction to rumours the state government is witch-hunting a parallel APGA Governorship candidate, Chief Chukwuma Umeoji by destroying his campaign materials.
Ahead of 2021 Governorship election scheduled to hold on the 6th of Novemberin Anambra, there have been observed across parts of the state, indiscriminate posting of campaign materials by candidates of the various political parties.
Chief Emecheta, who debunked the rumour that officers of the Agency have embarked on destruction and removal of Chief Umeoji’s campaign materials placed on strategic bill boards within the lengths and breadth of the State, maintained that the Agency is guided by law in whatever it does.
Emechetta argued that it was not about Umeoji, adding that if any of the agency’s officials had removed Umeoji’s materials, they did it not because it was Umeoji, but because they did not know the owner of the material or because the owner of the material did not register with them.
“Our records show that Chief Umeoji whose posters and other campaign materials are in all corners of the State, paid only #700,000.00 whereas one monopoly is #500,000, a portrait #500,000.00 and a unit of big bill board is one million naira only,” Emechetta disclosed.
The Anambra Advertisement boss, who said before he became the Managing Director of the Agency that he had worked in an Advertisement firm for 25 years as a professional, emphasised that he came into the Agency as a professional and not as a partisan politician.
He noted that during the party primary elections in the State, all nooks and crannies of the State were saddled with political bill boards, disclosing that about three quarter of the aspirants did not pay a dime to the Agency.
The ANSA Managing Director, maintained that now the party primary elections have come and gone and the party candidates have emerged, the Agency would purely deal with the structure of the individuals, maintaining that the Agency did not know who is on the bill board, but the owner of the bill boards.
“I think the law is very clear about how to put up a bill board in the State. But for avoidance of doubt, the law compels the contestants to first of all, come to the Agency and apply for a space and as well register with them with a view to enabling the Agency, have the true record of the owners of the bill boards and the materials placed on them for proper monitoring, of what the people display on the bill boards so that they would be in tandem with the current realities on ground or otherwise, those materials would be removed by the Agency,” he said.
The ANSA boss who spoke among other things, revealed that the Agency has started skeletal and not holistic removal of political structures on the bill boards that were not paid for in the State, saying there was a letter written by the Agency, directing members of the public who wishes to advertise, to go through a registered outdoor advertisement Agency.
“Our agency is determined to deal with any of the party Candidates in the State for unlawful placement of campaign materials on any bill board within the State without payment for the material through bank and generate bank receipt with Anambra State Government,” he concluded.