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Defaced posters: War without end

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• APC, PDP call for end to supporters’ gangsterism

WITH the postponement of the general elections by six weeks, the subtle battle of wits over the pasting and defacing of posters on Lagos highways and streets is reaching fever pitch between supporters of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos State.

   And unless a high wired tact is deployed, furour over pasting and defacing of posters in the heightened days before the polls in March and April could set the grounds for bitter and fierce confrontations between the two major parties and its diehard supporters.

   Lagosians at the weekend woke up to the surprise of seeing the entire stretch of President Goodlock Jonathan’s and Jimi Agbaje’s posters pasted on the Third Mainland Bridge defaced with black paint, while some huge banners of APC’s Akinwunmi Ambode were torn to shreds in other parts of the state.

   While much of these dastardly acts of gangsterism are reportedly perpetuated by party thugs at the dead of the night, politicians at both sides of the divide have been spilling venom and threatening reprisals on their supposed enemies.

   For Agbaje, however, he refuses to be distracted from the goal at hand, as this press statement seems to suggest: “Our team of volunteers have called our attention to defaced Jimi Agbaje campaign boards on the Third Mainland bridge. For those responsible for this uncouth act, let me say this: In this election, we will not be distracted or intimidated by anyone. The people of Lagos deserve more than petty gimmicks and cheap shots. 

   “We, on our end, will stick to the issues and ensure that we deliver on our promise of a “Lagos of our dreams” where every individual counts. A Lagos where the government works for ordinary people, and not just a few elite. May I plead that we all stay vigilant and ensure that we have a free and fair election process. Let’s show the world that our democracy has evolved.” 

   On the opposite end, the Support Group for Ambode 2015 has also condemned the destruction of billboards of the APC candidate, Akinwunmi Ambode, by gangsters masquerading as Federal Task Force in recent times.

   According to a statement released by the group’s head of media, Kehinde Bamigbetan, they were taken aback when two weeks ago, the Federal Task Force pasted notices on outdoor advertisement on the Third Mainland bridge and other roads built by the Federal Government in Lagos State purporting to direct their owners to remove them. 

   “It followed up this illegal threat at the weekend by destroying the billboards and other outdoor adverts, including those displaying the messages and pictures of Akinwunmi Ambode. The Fourth Schedule of the 1999 Constitution makes advertising the exclusive preserve of local governments and therefore removes any legal and legitimate basis for the action taken by the so-called task force.

   “It is sad that the same government that controls power at the centre is approaching the electoral contest in Lagos with reckless impunity and irresponsibility. We hereby call on the PDP and its candidate, Mr. Jimi Agbaje to call on the Federal Task Force to abide by the rule of law by respecting the authority of the local councils of Lagos State and their agency, the Lagos State Signage and Advertising Agency (LASAA) to carry out the regulation and control of outdoor advertisements and hoarding.”

   However, the Director General of the Lagos Goodluck-Sambo Independent Campaign Group (LGSICG), Dr. Adetokunbo Pearse, has warned LASAA to desist from allowing itself to be used by the Lagos State government as a tool to muzzle the opposition in the state. 

   In a statement, Pearse, a university don and former PDP Lagos gubernatorial aspirant, decried the removal of posters, billboards and other outdoor campaign materials of opposition candidates in the state, particularly those of the PDP.

   “Henceforth, anywhere our posters and outdoor campaign materials are removed by LASAA, we will do the same to materials belonging to the ruling APC government in Lagos State in a bigger magnitude. We will no longer condone this reckless abuse of public institutions for the selfish interests of those who want to perpetuate themselves in power at all costs.”


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