Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Decision by the Bayelsa State Government to regulate the posting of campaign posters and erecting campaign billboards has sparked controversy ahead of the governorship primary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Governorship campaign organisation of former managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Timi Alaibe, has alleged that government directive through the state Physical Planning and Development Board (BSPPDB) was targeted at the Alaibe’s posters and advertorials.
The BSPPDB, in a statement by its Chairman, Ebi Waribigha, after it ordered some campaign posters to be removed, said it would no longer condone what it called “illegal, irregular and indiscriminate posting of posters and erecting/installation of signage and billboards within Yenagoa and its environs.”
BSPPDB said most of the campaign advertorials fall short of prescribed standards and best practices as they distort the aesthetic condition of the city, cause impediment to free flow of traffic, pose serious danger to pedestrians/motorists and transmit offensive and unethical messages to the public.
“The board therefore wishes to warn the public that, henceforth, government shall not condone these activities without authorisation.
“To this end, individuals, government, political parties, aspirants and their supporters and corporate organisations are requested to obtain a valid permit from BSPPDB (former CCDA) on Sani Abacha Road, by Imgbi Roundabout, Amarata for all existing and intending posters, signage and billboards. Failure to adhere to this announcement shall attract appropriate sanctions, including, but not limited to payment of fines/penalties, forfeiture and/or prosecution.”
Meanwhile, a member of the Alaibe campaign organisation, Tony Ile, has condemned the removal of Alaibe campaign posters allegedly by agents of the state government as an act of cowardice and shameful.
Ile vowed that no amount of intimidation would diminish the popularity of Alaibe and his acceptability across the state.
“They removed all the posters and kept them at the road shoulder end in a determined effort to keep the man (Alaibe) growing popularity and acceptability away from Bayelsans who have vowed to vote him come rain or sun.
“My appeal to the restoration government is that they should know that Alaibe is PDP and PDP is Alaibe. He has come to stay and also determined to keep the PDP family intact.”