Gov Hope Uzodinma
Dr Kachi Nwoga, the gubernatorial candidate of the Action Democratic Party, has stated that it is atrocious for the Imo State Advertisement and Signage Agency to demand the sum of N54 million from political parties planning to erect campaign billboards ahead of the November 11 polls in the state.
While sarcastically calling on Imo Governor, Hope Uzodinma, to allow opposition parties in the State to breathe, the ADP candidate described the advertisement fee as outrageous.
Nwoga made the appeal in a letter written to the national headquarters of the Inter-Party Advisory Council, a copy of which was made available to journalists titled: “Petition Against N54m Campaign Levy Imposed on All Opposition Parties by Hope Uzodimma-led Imo Government.”
Addressing newsmen in Abuja on Monday, the Imo politician expressed concern that the move to frustrate opposition parties was targeted at giving Uzodimma an advantage ahead of the November 11 governorship poll.
He said, “The opposition is not allowed to breathe. I cannot go and put up a billboard today because, by the time they are telling me to pay N54 million naira to put up a billboard, it means I cannot put up a billboard.
“I don’t know any state anywhere, even if you need to convert it to dollars, nobody can charge this kind of money. It’s obscene, It’s atrocious, It’s sinful. That’s what they’re asking the opposition to pay.
“And I intend to ask since the entire state up and down is filled with the billboard of one particular person, I really want to know how much the state has made from that one person, if this is how much you have to pay for billboards.”
Nwoga’s reaction was a response to a circular issued by the General Manager of IMSAA, Chibuzor Umunnakwe, notifying all political parties participating in the forthcoming governorship election to apply for permits before erecting political billboards, out-of-home displays, and ancillary materials.
Although the letter was dated June 7, the agency maintained that the rates, terms and conditions had become effective from April 1.
The letter reads: “Political candidates intent on deploying outdoor/public displays must obtain, fill and submit the IMSAA application for outdoor political campaign advertisement form.
“A list of proposed billboard sites, including the ones for rental should be indicated in the form or as a separate attached document. If the sites are going to be built by the candidate or supporting parties, these would be treated as temporary structures.
“On approval of the form content, candidates will make the appropriate fee payments as indicated below. IMSAA finds all processes satisfactory, candidates will get a compliance confirmation letter from the agency.”
Umunnakwe stated that application form fee is pegged at N100,000; while the “gubernatorial Campaign Permit fee is N54,000,000.”
He added that on approval of the campaign, site inspection fee attracts N50,000, adding that this fee was in respect of billboards built by the candidate but does not affect those rented, while the approval fee is pegged at N150, 000.