By Fatai Abdullahi
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), says the administrative prohibition of the resumption of political campaigns by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) contravened the Electoral Law.
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said this in a statement issued on Sunday in Abuja.
It would be recalled that INEC had on Saturday shifted the dates for the General Elections a few hours to the opening of polling units across the country, attributing the development to logistical challenges.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, while fielding questions at
Yakubu said that there was no more room for political campaigns or collection of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) in spite of the postponement of presidential and National Assembly elections by one week.
“Campaigns closed on Thursday, Feb. 14, and for the period that remains, campaigns remain closed,” Yakubu said.
Ologbondiyan, however, stated that after due consideration of the provisions of the Electoral Act, the PDP concluded that the INEC directive contravened the provisions of the law.
“PDP, after due consideration of the provisions of the Electoral Act, is set to re-open its open campaigns consequent upon the postponement of Presidential and National Assembly elections by INEC from the earlier scheduled date of Feb. 16 to Feb. 23.
“The party rejects the wrongful administrative prohibition of open campaigns by INEC, holding that such administrative pronouncement was erroneous, directly in conflict with the provision of the Electoral Act and is not backed by any other law in our country.
“Our position is predicated on the clear provision of section 99 (1) of the Electoral Act which stipulated that “for the purposes of this Act, the period of campaigning in public by every political party shall commence 90 days before polling day and end 24 hours prior to that day”.
“The clear import of this provision, in the current situation, is that given the postponement of the election to Feb. 23, the 24 hours requirement for closure of all public campaigning falls at midnight of Feb. 21.
“The PDP reminds INEC that whenever its administrative pronouncement conflicts with the Electoral Act, such administrative pronouncement must bow before the law.”
Ologbondiyan advised INEC to be appropriately guided while directing PDP members to await further directives.