How President Jonathan Is Violating Nigeria’s Electoral Law

The president is breaching the law in a way that might give him advantage over his opponents in next year’s election.

New billboards urging Nigerian voters to vote for President Goodluck Jonathan in the 2015 presidential election have sprang up at strategic corners of Abuja against repeated warnings by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to politicians not to commence campaign before the stipulated time.

PREMIUM TIMES sighted some of the billboards at the roundabout adjoining Shehu Shagari Way and Ibrahim Babangida Boulevard in the Maitama District as well as the Ahmadu Bello Way/Kur Mohammed Street junction (opposite ThisDay Dome) in the Central Business District of the federal capital territory.

Unlike the previous ones scattered around the country, the new billboards, sponsored by a group, Jonathan Actualization Movement, JAM, are offensive to the provisions of the Electoral Act 2006 (as amended) because it is urging Nigerians to vote for the president.

They read, “2015 VOTE JONATHAN FOR EQUITY INTEGRITY & GOOD GOVERNANCE.”

With green backgrounds, the billboards have the picture of the president adorning the traditional caps and attires of the three major ethnic groups, Hausa, Yoruba and Ibo, on them.

The message on the billboards does not only suggest that the president has been picked by his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as its standard bearer, it also indicates that he has opened campaign in violation of the Electoral Act, which specifies that campaigns should commence 90 days before any election.

Section 99 (1-3) of the Electoral Act says: “For the purpose 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.

“A registered political party which through any person acting on its behalf during the 24 hours before polling day”

“Procures for publication or acquiesces in the publication of an advertisement in a Newspaper for the purpose of promoting or opposing a particular candidates, commits an offence under this Act and upon conviction is liable to a maximum fine of N500,000.”

No official of JAM could be reached for comments. However, information on the group, pieced together by this newspapers, shows that it is headed by one Basirat Nahibi, who was one of the major financiers of the previous presidential campaigns of a former head of state and a leader of the opposition All Progressive Congress, APC, Muhammadu Buhari.

Mr. Nahibi, who defected to the PDP last year, was quoted as listing the group’s objective to include support for Jonathan administration in actualizing its political programme; re-brand Mr. Jonathan as the right candidate for Nigerian in the 2015 election; and promote peace and stability by educating the populace on the need for unity, religion and tribal tolerance.

Repeated attempts to get the Special Adviser to the President of Political Matters, Rufa’i Alkali to comment for this story failed.

When PREMIUM TIMES first contacted him on his mobile telephone on Friday night, the presidential aide said he was in a short meeting.

“Can we talk later because I’m in a small meeting,” he said.

A few minutes later, Mr. Rufai, a professor, who was once a spokesperson for the PDP, called back to find out the name of the reporter who called on behalf of this newspaper and also assured him that he would call back.
He is yet to do so as at Saturday morning when this report was published.

The Independent National Election Commission, INEC, said it is not aware of the existence of the billboards in question.

Kayode Idowu, the media aide to the INEC Chairman, Attahiru Jega, who stated this in an interview with PREMIUM TIMES said virtually all parties are guilty of mounting campaign billboards and pasting posters ahead of the lawful campaign period.Googluck Jonathan 2015 illegal campaign (2)

“That unfortunately is the breach being replicated across board,” he said.

He said, “Section 99 or 100 of the Electoral Act does not really spell out what constitutes campaign breaches.”

The Chairman of the Inter-Party Advisory Council, IPAC, Yinusa Tanko, said although he was not also aware of the billboards in question, the message on it was wrong.

He said during a telephone interview with PREMIUM TIMES on Thursday evening that although Mr. Jonathan might blame some mischief makers for mounting the billboards, he (president) ought to have ordered them to be pulled down to prove he did not authorise it.

“It is wrong. The president will tell you it is some mischief makers that are doing it. But if you think so then bring it down,” Mr. Tanko, who is also the national chairman of the National Conscience Party, NCP, said.

Between 2012 and this year, various campaign posters, either urging Mr. Jonathan to run in the coming presidential poll or announcing his preparedness to do so, were sighted in many parts of the country.

Some of the earliest posters sighted by this newspaper in January 2013 were strategically posted in high brow areas of the capital city, including Central Business District, Garki, Asokoro, Wuse, and the PDP Headquarters in the Wuse Zone 5 district of the capital.

The all-glossy giant posters, which had the portrait of the president, reads, “2015: No vacancy in Aso Rock. Let’s do more. One good term deserves another; support Dr. Goodluck Azikiwe Jonathan for 2015 Presidency.”

The then Special Adviser to the President of Political Matters, Ahmed Gulak, disowned the posters, saying the president did not authorise anybody to print any campaign poster for him as regards the 2015 elections.

On another occasion, Mr. Jonathan’s media aide, Reuben Abati, disclaimed the posters, saying the president had not publicly announced his political decision for 2015 and as a result it would be improper for him to begin to paste posters for 2015.

Despite the presence of posters and billboards as well as the emergence of motley groups falling over one another in the quest to railroad him into entering the contest, Mr. Jonathan has consistently said it was too early for him to announce his political future because he presently has a job to do.

But the president is not the only Nigerian politician beginning the game before the whistle is blown.

Sometime last year, the campaign posters of a national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Muhammadu Buhari, flooded some parts of Abuja.

The green background posters were strategically posted in the Asokoro District and other areas of the federal capital.

The APC Youth Forum, which sponsored the posters, announced Mr. Buhari, a former military head of state, as the consensus presidential candidate of the party.

The posters, which had the portrait of Mr Buhari, read: “Here comes the only saviour for Nigeria, Gen Muhammadu Buhari, APC Consensus candidate for 2015 presidential election; Support Buhari All Progressives Congress, Support Buhari: The only man for the job.”

The posters surprisingly emerged even when the APC was finalizing plan to file application for registration with INEC.

Mr. Buhari was the presidential candidate of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, on two occasions (2003 and 2007) and was the candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, in the 2011 election.

In early 2013, presidential campaign posters featuring the pair of Sule Lamido and Rotimi Amaechi, governors of Jigawa and Rivers States, as presidential and vice presidential aspirants of the PDP for the 2015 election, were also noticed in some parts of the country.

Another one announcing the Niger State governor as a presidential aspirant also hit some parts of the North.

But like the president, they all blamed it on the activities of political jobbers.

Following the flurry of the posters and campaign boards, INEC repeatedly asked politicians to desist from violating the Electoral Law.

“As at now, none of the parties has held any primaries. It is therefore preposterous and hasty for individuals to erect billboards or print posters urging voters to vote for them,” Mr. Jega was quoted in an edition of INEC Bulletin.

In March, Mr. Jega repeated the warning and threatened to sanction politicians over illegal campaign. He said he was sick of politicians breaching the Electoral Act, which stipulates that campaigns can only commence 90 days to an election.

“When you look around, what you see are fundamental breaches against these agreements,” he said adding that the police and other security agencies were already compiling names of defaulters for possible sanction,” he said.

He stated that posting of campaign posters and billboards were parts of the breaches and that candidates or aspirants who allowed their associates or friends paste them were culpable.

Mr. Jega said, “Posters and billboards fall within the offence. Candidates and parties have an obligation to prevent their candidates and sympathisers from breaking the law.

“There is a thin line in rallies. It may be to promote the natural progress of the party and not the candidate. If a party goes ahead there to say vote for me, then you have crossed the rubicon.

“You can’t have your poster pasted and you sit back and say someone put it there on my behalf. If someone put it there, why did you not stop him?”

In one of the statements INEC threatened to prosecute any politician found violating the laws. It is yet to do so.

Mr. Idowu, the INEC chairman’s spokesperson, explained it away. According to him, INEC cannot punish anybody now because of the ambiguity of the Electoral Act.

He disclosed that the Commission recently drafted some guidelines on what constitute campaign breaches and distributed the document to all the registered political parties. The parties are expected to make their inputs before it is adopted.

He added that the guidelines would be incorporated into the Electoral Act.

“The Commission has come up with draft guidelines of specific things that constitute a breach and the parties see it and make their input and agree to it. Once you are agreed to it then it is binding on you. You cannot say well and you are violating and the sanctions can be applied.

“Both the Electoral Act and Constitution give INEC powers to make guidelines for the electoral process and they have the force of law. They give INEC powers to make guidelines.”

Mr. Idowu said INEC is bothered about the violation of the Electoral Act and that it is affecting its operations.

“It gives us concern, so much concern that we have even issued a statement calling their attention to it. When players don’t play by the rule, it is not healthy.

“So surely it concerns INEC and that is why it is using any opportunity pending when we have those guidelines to appeal to the players and take their minds to what the law says.

“Once the guidelines are perfected and adopted it will have the force of law and you can ask the security agencies to also act on the basis of those guidelines.

“INEC does not have the enforcement powers. We have to rely on security agencies to implement the law. You can use these guidelines to ask the security this particular thing is a breach, please intervene.”

Mr. Tanko confirmed that the parties were given the draft guidelines, but that they were yet to make their inputs.

“We have not been able to punish anybody because there is no clear definition as to what constitutes the breach, especially those in government because you don’t know when somebody is doing government work or campaigning,” he said.


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  • redeem

    Clear as day light that this watery boko haramic story was sponsored by APC-and penned on behalf of the party by Lai Mohamed–aware sharia reporters ati—-I better not mention them name here-OOOOOOH- b4 they blacklist me againi-oooooooooooooooh-Yes as I was saying b4 Tinubu crossed my path- that- rather than have APC reach out to the masses at the grass root level -all the janjaweeds manage to do is to depend on—their main stream media to attempt to pull the president and his party down-hardly do u hear them articulate ideas on how to move the nation forward-based on their regional visions for 9ja sha-From Ekiti to Adamawa—its always been————-one scary story or the other–if its not about the ongoing impeachment fever—then its on d chibok girls ati Oby—hardly do u have anything on-boko haram———–if a former financier of chief dr alpha imam—alhaji–buhari——-now goes out of his his way to erect a bill board on behalf of the president–then that person must have found out that Buhari is not a presidential material period-he is not electable—that APC is a regional lslamic party–of d fulani jihadist fighting in boko haram—-kalas

    • Shehu

      MR. FULANIPHOBIA, YOU DON’T HAVE ANYTHING CONCRETE TO SAY. YOU ARE JUST A BIGOT.

      • redeem

        @wahala-thank God its not yet Ibo-phobia–but Fulani phobia—————–the next phase will be Oby –phobia—animals—————————–happily yr civil war thoughts against the president- are not Ijaw–phobia—-abi

        • Shehu

          YOU ARE MISTAKEN. YOU ARE REPLYING A WRONG PERSON. THIS IS NOT WAHALA, IT’S SHEHU, A FULANI MUSLIM WHO YOU HATE WITH RAGE. YOUR PHOBIC DISORDER ON ISLAM AND FULANI WILL KEEP YOU IN YOUR FRUSTRATION FOREVER.

    • Gnwatch

      You are probably one of the paid agent of FG hired by his SA social media to attack personality. I like to discuss issues and not personality. To me it’s a shame to have GEJ as president of the most populous black country. Cameroonian Deputy Prime Minister’s wife was kidnapped and rescued within few days by the country’s armed forces. In Nigeria, more than 200 school children were abducted under Jonathan’s watch and 110 days after, no sign that our nation’s security forces will be able to rescue them. All the clueless man knows how to do best is to deploy the entire soldiers to rig election while at the same time violate electoral law as reported here. Boko Haram has spread its vicious and mindless attack everywhere and all that the rudderless president can do is to deploy stolen petrol dollars to campaign for re election while perfecting plans to deploy troops to rig Osun election.

      • redeem

        Must u be a card carying member of PDP or be a salaried staff of the Jonathan administration b4 u be allowed to air your God given views-in Nigeria-?–Well get this into yr fat head–I am not–Besides———–which issues do u like to discuss–that are not laced to the thoughts of the janjaweeds in APC-the greatest thing to happen to Nigeria is the presidency of Jonathan-why does these yeye APC sponsored rubbish remain relevants to the crisis affecting the fulani north-dont we see bill-boards of buhari all over the place–what about that of rochas ati tinubu————-i begi————–that a man who gave out money to back buhari in 211–is now with PDP—and that he erected a bill board for the president-in abuja again-that the man is fulani—————-so what————why should such nonsense trouble the soul of APC? or attract PT–Oya told me———this is what we call pepper soup story–sponsored by APC kalas

  • bangiso mhlabeni

    RIDE ON GEJ TILL 2019.

    • Issei

      To hell Abi?

  • Jeffrey

    Jonathan confessed twice on NTA that he has boko haram members in his personal government and instead of prosecuting them he granted them unflinching immunity to keep on killing Nigerians daily.

    Azzazi the national security adviser to president Jonathan also declared PDP is boko haram and boko haram is PDP.

    Jerry Gana the information minister under Obasanjo bailed Mohammed Yussuf out of prison over 20 times before the man was killed by JTF when he threatened to expose the PDP.

    Ali Ndume a senator called Konduga a convicted BH member over 70 times. MTN submitted the call log in court. Why is Jonathan trying to sweep all these evidences under the carpet.

    PDP as a Muslim chairman. APC as a Christian chairman. Almost all PDP past chairman have been Muslims. Nigerians excluding the Igbos who is truly boko haram with all these evidences.

    • redeem

      Buhari has asked the Federal Government to stop the clampdown of Boko Haram insurgents, saying Niger Delta Militants were never killed or properties belonging to them destroyed.

      Buhari who spoke on Sunday on a Liberty Radio programme, Guest of the Week monitored said accused the government of killing and destroying houses belonging to Boko Haram members while the Niger Delta militants get special treatment.

      The former dictator said that unlike the special treatment given to the Niger Delta militants by the federal government, the Boko Haram members were being killed and their houses demolished by government.

      While accusing President Jonathan of failing from the beginning to address the SECURITY situation in the country, Buhari said he has never been in support of the state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa state.

      According to Buhari “what is responsible for the security situation in the country is caused by the activities of Niger Delta militants. Every Nigerian that is familiar with what is happening knows this. The Niger Delta militants started it all. WAS THIS STATEMENT MADE TO PROTECT BOKO HARAM BY PDP-

      • Jeffrey

        I am also against SOE in those states since it is yet to be declared on Abuja. The statement Buhari made is simply a way out since the inept Jonathan can not quench the insurgence.

        Following Sunday’s massacre in eight Borno communities by the Boko Haram sect, which has so far claimed 121 lives, former Head of State and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), has condemned the continued violence in Borno State. He described the ideology fuelling the Boko Haram insurgence as devilish and senseless, adding that it should not be given space in any civilized society.

        Everyone proffering solution to the boko haram insurgence recognised the members would have to be reorientated and integrated into the society just like the niger delta militants were. You might not like it but that his your problem to deal with.

        You can also try expatiating why a PDP president declared there are boko haram members in his personal government who he is yet to arrest or prosecute instead he’s busy trying to sweep incriminating evidence against them under the carpet after granting them immunity to kill Nigerians. Did APC paid him to confess ?

        Did APC also paid Azzazi the national security adviser to the president to declare that the president political party is boko haram and boko haram is PDP ? What year would you start making use of your medulla ?

        • Goza Gozza

          there will be no amnesty for terrorists.

      • Shehu

        POINTLESS! SAME STUFF YESTERDAY, TODAY AND TOMORROW. YOUR BRAIN IS DEAD.

        • redeem

          @wahala-until u change yr regional mentality-against d president-it will continue to appear for words spoken hundreds of years ago by the sages including Awo and Zik ati Christ and the Mohamed of the janjaweeds in boko haram still remain relevant today-no to talk of the draconian decree 4 which yr mentor buhari enacted–we still use them as a reference point till date-abi————–cheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeers

          • Shehu

            WELL, YOUR MENTAL RETARDATION WILL NOT ALLOW YOU TO STOP BEING SENTIMENTAL AND BIGOTED AS WELL AS DISPLAYING YOUR HATRED. YOU HAVE A LOT TO DO. FIRE ON!

    • ismail umar

      Don’t misinform the public.
      The president confirmed that boko haram has infiltrated his government. that government includes you and me.
      Any Public office holder that is elected under the APC is in jonathan’s government.
      i haven’t said the APC are the boko haram, all i am saying is he accepted that fact because some of his military operations have been leaked out to the terrorists and it makes the army predictable, we know out of every 12 there is always a judas but in a country as big as Nigeria it is never easy to trace one. Even the bereaved chibok community some of them still serve as spies for the boko haram group, so this issue is more complex than you think.
      Senator Ali Ndume is a member of the APC and is facing trial, how is it being swept under the carpet ?

      • Shehu

        YOUR TRUE COLOUR HAS COME OUT. YOU ARE A JONAHARAMIAN.

      • Jeffrey

        It is impossible for me to be part of Jonathan’s government. Senator Ali Ndume is from the PDP, dunce. He won his last senatorial seat on the ticket of the PDP. I do not have time to waste on daft like you Ismail Umar. Have someone with a brain in your household reply my comments.

  • Aladi

    Whether campaigns flags up today, tomorrow or next year Jonathan is the right candidate for Nigerian in the 2015 election, good governance is all we want.

    • greatbiodun

      he is a good candidate according to you only

      • Aladi

        For those who believe in Nigeria they see change. No better contender. APC is a confused party and would lead Nigeria to doom. where Atiku and Buhari are fighting for presidential ticket, i mean what a high level of desperation and confusion at the grassroots

      • ismail umar

        There are many who are of the opinion that the president is doing a good job and will push mountains to get him re-elected , But the issue is the way the campaign group or whoever is involved, is going on about it. the admirers of GEJ may have done this individually , though its wrong but you can’t exactly accuse the president of doing it directly.

    • Gnwatch

      you believe the way to deliver good governance is to be lawless right?

      • Aladi

        INEC should do its job. Virtually all parties are guilty of this. The president has not confirmed a rerun and campaigns have not flagged off yet. When it does the people’s choice shall prevail.

      • redeem

        Has the debt infested APC in the south west delivered

  • S.A

    Goodluck all the way….Good governance is key!

  • Gnwatch

    Where is Attahiru Jega? This man has no integrity again. He known for using different set of rules depending on who is involved. Sometimes last year< Jega warned aspirants to desist from erecting campaign structures like billboards etc as ban on electoral campaigns had not been lifted. It is surprising the INEC boss appears to be looking the other way as GEJ supporters continue to violate electoral law by erecting campaign billboards in strategic places all over the federation 6 months to the general elections. Jega certainly cannot be said to have capacity to provide level playing field for free and fair elections.

    • redeem

      dont u see buhari bill boards all over the fulani north—-what is wrong with yr head–dont u know that the bill board was put there by a stauch supporter of buhari from the fulani north————————————

  • ismail umar

    The headline of this article doesn’t match the body. If they claim the campaign is being sponsored by the JAM, they should be held responsible, INEC should go on and persecute the group. Everything can not be blamed on Jonathan. As far as we are concerned the President hasn’t come out to say he is contesting, so any of such awareness is only illusory.

  • Patrick Asabe

    Dear Editor:

    Nigerians are funny people. Here the news-report says what constitutes an electoral breach is not defined in the country’s Electoral Law, but that’s as good as having no law at law, isn’t it? Or, what is the point of an enacted law having no definition of an offence? The problem with Nigeria is thus bigger than most people think. The country has but collapsed mentally.

    A failure of thought is the worst affliction on a country and that’s the problem with Nigeria – the worst scourge in human history. Nigerians bleed to pay 3 million Naira per month to each federal lawmaker but get meaningless sentences hewed from empty-heads in return. And so, the country loses money, and, loses law and order in consecutive sequence of
    double jeopardy.

    Up till today, no lawyer in Nigeria who’s sanctioned or dis-barred knows where to go for redress. That’s because the Legal Practitioners Law drafted by the National Assembly has no meaning and contains only legislative indecision on where to get redress. After three law reforms and plenary amendments, and despite law revision and collation, all that exists is the same disgraceful legislative indecision.

    • redeem

      why trouble your soul –over that fate of our lawbreakers– in 9ja–we are one because there is awooooooooooooooof oil revenue to waste-period–its not that we love ourselves-there is free money to spend–that is why the fulanis would not allow the south south have resource control–they can clone boko haram maitasine–izla behead akaluka–assassinate abiola and ati kudirat–hang ken–behead an ibo trader–kidnap under aged girls and use them as suicide bombers and have Nigerians from the old regions of the country clap for them-All they are interested in aso rock is how the oil money will folow into their pockets—its not that jonathan is not performing the elites from the old region who are the ones benefitting from his government-and who are his advisers hate his guts-because of the ijawness—–in him–that is why u see APC—————–OFTEN mount indue pressure on him–cause they know he is standing on a quick shifting sand–they will never allow 9ja split–never———–where else would they go–

      • Shehu

        MR. FULANIPHOBIA. SAME STUFF YESTERDAY, TODAY AND TOMORROW. YOUR BRAIN IS DEAD

  • Dr Patrick Kolawole Awosan

    Professor Attahiru Jega,the chairman of INEC electoral umpire that are supposed to be neutra from partisan politic is running INEC like an extension of PDP president Ebele Jonathan office and his minister.Professor Jega holds his loyalty to Ebele Jonathan as the man who appointed Jega to head INEC.
    This is what brought to question the abandoned of the Justice Uwais led electoral reformation-report which was was submitted some years ago.That report was abandoned by president Ebele Jonathan regime hence,Mr Ebele Jonathan, continues to violates Nigeria ban on election campaigns and pasting of election posters.2015 election campaigns has not commence but PDP Ebele Jonathan and his wife Dame Patience Jonathan has long began campaigning for 2015 presidential poll despite INEC ban.Nigeria is a lawless society,cheat and massively corrupt-ridden Ebele Jonathan.

    • redeem

      Must u be a card carying member of PDP or be a salaried staff of the Jonathan administration b4 u be allowed to air your God given views-in Nigeria-?–Well get this into yr fat head–I am not–Besides———–which issues do u like to discuss–that are not laced to the thoughts of the janjaweeds in APC-the greatest thing to happen to Nigeria is the presidency of Jonathan-why does these yeye APC sponsored rubbish remain relevants to the crisis affecting the fulani north-dont we see bill-boards of buhari all over the place–what about that of rochas ati tinubu————-i begi————–that a man who gave out money to back buhari in 211–is now with PDP—and that he erected a bill board for the president-in abuja again-that the man is fulani—————-so what————why should such nonsense trouble the soul of APC? or attract PT–Oya told me———this is what we call pepper soup story–sponsored by APC kalas———who is buhari with no election value–to trouble our soul–APC should go pay off all the debt the states in the south west are owing banks b4 we talk———————-lagos state has a debt profile of billions— not to talk of ekiti ati osun–state-which cannot even pay salaries of her civil servants–wants to go to the centre–what do u think will happen–9ja will die within second–with debts-because tinubu no dey fear to borrow money

  • Comfortkay

    Each time l see redeem on this forum attacking others because of GEJ l don’t want to make any comment.
    Redeem or what is your name the cost of war is expensive and the cost of war does not end when the last shot are fired and the last missiles launched.

    • redeem

      –my friend who is talking about wars I am not a fulani-herds man-or a drunken sailor fisher man–according to stateless tinubu———-its the fulani north that started the war via their socalled sharia law——————-to unseat Jonathan———–all the wars that Nigeria has so far fought were paid for with my oil revenue-none will go to war such as this dirty boko haramic APC ati d fulanis induced war–if we had no awoof oil revenue flowing quietly into the pockets of the janjaweeds in APC-go drink rat poison–for all i care if u hate redeem so much–kalas–or beg PT to blacklist me cause i do not sing the praise of tinubu ati buhari–animals