The Peoples Democratic Party and its All Progressives Congress counterpart in Ekiti State on Thursday distanced themselves from the allegation by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, that they were engaging in campaigns illegally ahead of next year’s governorship election in the state.
The parties also denied that their aspirants were involved in open campaigns.
INEC in the state had earlier issued a warning to the parties and politicians to desist from campaigns for the forthcoming election before the commission lifts ban on political activities.
The commission observed a heightening of political activities in Ekiti State, with posters and billboards lining the highways.
It warned that such acts violated the constitution and Electoral Act which guides the conduct of elections.
The spokesperson for the APC in the state, Taiwo Olatumbosun, told PREMIUM TIMES on Thursday that although the party was engaging in political meetings and other activities, it has not breached any known provision of the Electoral Act as it affects campaigns.
“None of our aspirants are flouting the rules,” he said. “None of our members is holding open campaigns as we speak.”
He noted that INEC was right to have issued the warning as the PDP had branded vehicles and billboards lining the streets of the state capital and other areas.
He however added that branding itself may not constitute a breach as canvassing for votes.
“There is nothing wrong if someone chooses to greet the people using billboards and other outdoor advertisements,” Mr. Olatumbosun noted.
“That will not be in contravention of the Electoral Act, since there is no canvassing for votes.”
The PDP on the other hand said its aspirants had been law abiding and had not done anything to warrant a reprimand from the INEC.
“We agree with the INEC that campaign should fall within the period specified by the timetable,” Jackson Adebayo, the spokesman of the PDP in Ekiti State, said.
“We are a law abiding party and none of our members is engaged in violating the law guiding elections.
“Maybe there other political parties doing so, for us we are committed to keeping to the rules.”
Ayo Fayose, the incumbent governor of Ekiti under the PDP, is not eligible to run for another term having earlier served a term as governor.
However, PREMIUM TIMES gathered that a number of aspirants were jostling to emerge as his successor on the platform of the PDP.