*We can’t stop FG from using Info Ministry for campaign jingles — INEC
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has accused President Muhammadu Buhari and All Progressives Congress (APC) of flagrant violations of the Constitution and the Electoral Act 2010 through unbridled deployment of state resources and apparatuses for this year’s presidential campaign.
Atiku also, on Thursday, distanced himself from what he described as a video he claimed was concocted by the Buhari campaign to the effect that he planned to hand over a portion of Borno State to Boko Haram in a peace deal.
In a statement issued on his behalf by his media adviser, Mr. Paul Ibe, Atiku recalled injunctions against the use of state resources for political campaigns as given by the Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu.
In the statement, he said: “We wish to remind President Buhari and the APC that the use of state videos released by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture is illegal under the Electoral Act 2010 as amended.
“The media is awash with advertisements with the hashtag #PMBDIDIT and signed by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture and referencing so-called achievements of the APC administration in the states of Abia, Kwara, Lagos, Ebonyi, Delta and Kano, among others.
“These are without doubt 2019 presidential campaign materials produced by the Ministry of Information and Culture using state resources and apparatuses to benefit President Buhari. (See attached videos).
“This appalling conduct, which is clearly in violation of Section 100 of the Electoral Act, is even more shocking when it is recalled that the state resources being used to the illegal advantage of President Buhari are being drawn from agencies, which, for over three years prior to this election, failed to perform their duties to the benefit of Nigerian citizens. The Ministry of Information and Culture must stop this illegality immediately.
“We demand that INEC issues an immediate cease and desist order to both the Ministry of Information and Culture and to the broadcast channels running it.
“We also insist that INEC register the media spend behind it as part of the APC’s total N1 billion campaign spend limit.”
Meanwhile, the PDP has called for an urgent meeting with INEC to discuss issues arising from reports on PVC buying.
Atiku spoke just as a respondent told The DEFENDER why the PDP presidential candidate, whose party in power used the same method he wants INEC to stop Buhari for the whole of four out of five transition elections conducted by it without any of them seeing it as issue, is now talking.
He said it was sign that the former vice president had admitted his loss as, according to him, “Atiku surely now sees that not elitic gang up but masses of the Nigerian people will determine the who wins the February general elections and so is holding to anything without even pausing a while and think if he is right. Was his party for 16 years not using Federal Minister of Information for election campaign?” He asked.
We can’t stop FG – INEC
In its reaction, INEC said it does not have the powers to compel any federal agency to stop the production of campaign jingles for any political party.
Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi who was responding to concerns raised to that effect by Atiku Abubakar Presidential Campaign Organisation, was reported by Vanguard to have said that it was within the constitutional rights of parties aggrieved in the circumstance to approach the relevant authorities for remedial actions.
The commission also welcomed the interest of PDP in advocating a stakeholders’ meeting towards finding a practical solution to the menace of trading of Permanent Voter Cards, PVCs.