The new policy introduced by the Anambra State Government compelling governorship aspirants to pay N9 million each to display their posters is raising dust in the state.
The policy comes as Anambra State gets set to go to the polls on November 18 to elect a new governor.
The incumbent, Willie Obiano, is seeking re-election.
Speaking in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Awka on Monday, the Managing Director of the Anambra State Signage and Advertising Agency, Jude Emecheta, vowed that politicians slugging it out with Obiano must have to pay N9 million each to display their posters.
He described payment of the charge as sacrosanct, saying that the money would be used to clean-up the environment after it must have been littered with election posters.
Emecheta said: “The N9 million fees will be used to clean-up and repaint the city after the election.
“ANSAA will ensure that posters and other campaign materials did not deface strategic locations in the state.
“Election posters are not permitted to be pasted on public building, traffic lights, poles and at roundabouts.”
He noted that politicians must direct their aides to post their campaign materials at the approved backing boards to avoid prosecution.
Emecheta argued that the aim of the fee was not to witch-hunt any governorship aspirant but to ensure that things were done properly.
The ANSAA chief explained that aspirants were expected to pay N3 million for each of the three senatorial zones in the state.
According to him, any aspirant who fails to comply with the directive, will have his bill board and posters removed and will also be made to face the wrath of the law
But opposition politicians in the state have reacted angrily to the levy, describing it as outrageous, unnecessary and illegal.
The Chairman of the All Progressives Congress in the state, Emeka Ibe, described the fee as exploitative, saying that the levy would be resisted in court.
His colleague, Mattias Emeke, Chairman of the Progressives People’s Alliance, said the agency was becoming afraid of Obiano losing in the election.
According to him, the Anambra says government is now resorting to intimidating opponents with the introduction of silly policies to prevent another party from winning the election.
Emeke said: “We can assure the agency that we will reject the order because it is unconstitutional and is aimed at edging people out of the race.”
Angelina Okoye, a politician, said the order was uncalled for, advising Emecheta not to use the agency to pollute the polity.
Okoye argued that a level-playing ground should be fostered to prevent bad blood and chaos during the election.
Another politician, Mike Igweilo, described the policy as wrong, advising the government to review it or face court actions.
Ikem Chiadikaobi said the agency had shown that the State Government had an intention to use its machinery to suppress other contenders in the polls.
However, the Chairman of APGA in the state, Norbert Obi, said the government might have some good intentions with the policy.
Obi said the levy was part of government’s drive to generate money for the development of the state, noting that APGA’s candidates were willing to pay the fee.
A chieftain of APGA, Chief Godson Ezenagu, applauded the government for introducing the levy, noting that it would prevent unserious contenders from seeking the plum job.