The Anambra State Signage and Advertisement Agency (ANSAA) has pulled down the campaign billboard of the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Mr Peter Obi.
The affected billboard was a massive one located at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Temporary Site Flyover.
The billboard was pulled down last Saturday, alongside that of the party’s candidate for the Anambra Central Senatorial District in next month’s elections, Chief Victor Umeh.
Last August, the state government announced the fees to be paid by candidates to display their billboards in the state. The fee for presidential candidate is N10 million while a senatorial candidate is charged N7 million.
Also, a House of Representatives candidate is to pay N5 million and state House of Assembly candidate N1 million.
ANSAA Managing Director, Tony Ujubuonu said that the pulling down of the billboards had no political reasons.
According to him, the affected candidates did not comply with the laid down procedures.
Ujubuonu also explained that the development had nothing to do with the state governor, Prof. Charles Soludo.
He said that the exercise was carried out after several efforts, phone calls and entreaties to the affected candidates for them to pay for the advert, which proved abortive.
The ANSAA boss said many political parties and their candidates paid the fees for the mounting of billboards but the Labour Party candidates refused.
“But sadly, no payment was made by the Labour party candidates both at the national and state House of Assembly levels. Several phone calls and entreaties were made to them through their media managers but they ignored these.
“They have had several campaigns in the state without permits and have their campaign materials everywhere without permits. It’s only fair that all politicians should be treated equally.
“Equally, any political party candidate affected knows that either they are yet to pay or are yet to complete their payments of the political campaign permit”, he said.
Some stakeholders and indigenes of the state however alleged that the action had a political undertone, claiming the billboards were dismantled on Soludo’s orders.
Umeh described the development as “undemocratic and unconscionable”.
He also threatened legal action against the state government if the billboards were not restored any time soon.
According to Umeh, the state government has no power in any extant law to regulate electoral processes.
He said that it was the sole responsibility of the Independent National Electoral Commission to do so.
Umeh also said that he had paid about N4 million to his advertising agencies for the billboards which had also paid to the ANSAA the required fees for outdoor adverts.
“No other state does that except Soludo’s state. Who did Soludo pay campaign fees to in 2021 when he contested for governorship? We are considering legal action”, he said.