The Enugu State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has flatly denied that its members were responsible for the alleged destruction of the campaign billboards of President Muhammadu Buhari, and that of the governorship candidate of the All Progressive Congress, APC, Senator Ayogu Eze.
PDP Chairman in the state, Chief Augustine Nnamani, in a press statement distanced PDP members from any destruction of APC billboards.
He was reacting to an allegation by APC support group that PDP and Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi were behind the destruction of Buhari’s billboards erected at strategic locations in the Coal city state.
Enugu State APC Leaders and Stakeholders forum had accused PDP and the state Government of “intolerance towards the main opposition party in the state”.
The APC pro-group alleged that “Gov. Ugwuanyi, personally ordered that no billboards campaigning for President Buhari and the APC governorship candidate , Senator Ayogu Eze, be allowed to stand anywhere in the state, despite having paid the necessary levies for such.”
But in a swift response, PDP dismissed APC’s allegation as false and malicious intended to blackmail the state government and whip up public sympathy.
PDP explained that contrary to the allegation, it was the APC that has been destroying PDP billboards in the state despite the fact that an advocacy group, Youth Coalition for Good Governance, had recently raised the alarm in the media over such plans by APC – “to destroy all billboards erected in strategic locations in Enugu by teaming supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-led state government”.
The statement accused the factional state Chairman of the APC, Mr. Ben Nwoye of using PDP to curry favour from the Presidency by fabricating lies against its members and the state government.
PDP said it needed not to descend so low as to resort to the destruction of APC billboards which do not by any foreseeable means constitute any threat to it because Enugu remains a stronghold of the PDP.
Below is a full text of the press statementt:
“The attention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Enugu State has been drawn to the unfounded allegation by the factional state chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Ben Nwoye that the PDP is stopping the party from mounting its billboards in the state and destroying available ones.
“Ordinarily, the state chapter of the PDP would have wished not to join issues with the opposition APC in the state, over series of mischievous allegations against our great party, but since this recent accusation is capable of undermining the enviable style of governance in the state, anchored on peace, good governance, decency, credibility and respect for all institutions, the need to react becomes imperative:
“1. That the PDP did not and certainly will not prevent any other political party in the state from mounting its billboard in any approved location.
“2. That the PDP-led state government , has already mounted billboards in strategic locations, welcoming the Vice President , His Excellency, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo to Enugu State on Friday, November 23, in line with our standing tradition of according respect, each time the President or his Vice visits the state, which they always appreciate.
“3. That such act of hospitality and the demand of protocol from the PDP government in Enugu State should not been seen by the state chapter of the APC as an opportunity to misrepresent issues and lie against the PDP.
“4. That contrary to the allegation, it was the APC that has been destroying PDP billboards in the state despite the fact that an advocacy group, Youth Coalition for Good Governance, had recently raised the alarm in the media over such plans by members of the major opposition political party in the state – “to destroy all billboards erected in strategic locations in Enugu by teeming supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-led state government.
“5. That we advise the opposition APC in Enugu State to appreciate the existing peace in the state as well as the spirit of friendship being extended to all political parties through our multi-partisan approach to governance, which most of their leaders have acknowledged.”
PDP also debunked allegations by another APC pro -group that the state government stopped advertising agents and owners of some billboards from mounting President Muhammadu Buhari and other APC candidates’ campaign billboards.
The leader of the group, Chief Amadi Chukwuma, had claimed that the Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, ” personally ordered that no billboards campaigning for President Buhari and the APC Governorship candidate in Enugu State, Senator Ayogu Eze, be allowed to stand anywhere in the state”.
Chukwuma cited an instance, where “a particular large billboard along the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, which has already been paid for by the APC for use in the next three months, but which the advertisers have been prevented from mounting, by the Enugu State government”.
He accused the state government of intimidating the opposition.
“Governor Ugwuanyi, has finally been turned into a dictatorship, with utmost intentions of using its state privileges, to repress opposition and turn Enugu State into a one party state, he alleged.
Speaking further he said : further said ” the action of the Enugu State government is an official declaration of war on the APC and there is no way the safety of APC members and leaders can be further guaranteed in the State if the Federal government does not take urgent actions, to prevent this illegality”
“This desperate tactic of the Ugwuanyi’s administration in Enugu State, and the resort to pulling down President Buhari campaign billboards, could be seen as an admission that the PDP is no longer sellable to the electorate in Enugu State.”
But PDP dismissed the allegations as fabricated political propaganda and a weak strategy of a drowning man.