From Tony John, Port Harcourt
The campaign organisation of the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in Rivers State, Tonye Cole, has frowned at the Executive Order 21, recently signed into law by Governor Nyesom Wike.
The Executive Order 21 prohibits the use of public schools for rallies without permission from the Commissioner for Education.
The Rivers governor said the signing of Order 21 into law was part of the government’s responsibility to protect and secure public schools’ infrastructure from damage or destruction.
He said public place premises or facilities could be used for political rallies, only when the education commissioner has approved the request, which would not be less than two weeks before the date of the rally with the payment of non-refundable security fee of N5 million.
Reacting, APC said it was an unfortunate attempt by the ruling government to stifle the political space for opposition political parties in the state.
Spokesman for Tonye Cole Campaign Organisation, Sogbeye Eli, described the Order as notorious, saying it would be difficult for opposition parties to secure approvals from governor Wike’s appointees.
Eli also knocked the State House of Assembly for the recent de-recognition of Celestine Omehia as former governor of the state. He said no Rivers governor should run the state as a personal property, adding that punishing Omehia for supporting the Atiku Abubakar 2023 presidential quest was politics taken to levels of unprecedented absurdity.