The aura of electioneering campaigns for 2015 has gripped many politicians in some states in the country. But what has remained a major problem for most politicians is the uncertainty occasioned by the crisis in the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Investigations show that campaign posters have surfaced in many states. But some of these posters have no party emblems which are meant to indicate the platform on which the aspirants intend to vie for elective offices.
In Sokoto state, campaign posters dot major cities of the state, pasted at roundabouts, on public buildings, trees and private residences.
The posters are mostly of politicians aspiring for elective positions on the platforms of the All Progressives’ Congress (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). It was observed that those perceived to be members of APC were somehow reluctant in putting the emblem of the party on their campaign posters, unlike their counterparts in the PDP.
The posters of Senator DahiruTambuwal, who is the chairman of the senate committee on Judiciary, and one of the legislators reportedly preparing to join APC from PDP, have surfaced in the state without party emblem.
On the contrary, posters of the deputy governor of the state and designated leader of PDP, Alhaji Mukhtari Shagari; former Minister of Transport, Yusuf Sulaiman and Senator Abubakar Umar Gada, have PDP logos. They also have bold inscriptions such as “Shagari Governor of Sokoto state come 2015,” “Gada 2015” and “Sulaiman for Governor 2015.”
Former governorship candidate of the defunct All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP), Alhaji Yusha’u Kebbe, is so far the only APC member whose posters have flooded the streets, carry the APC logo and the bold messageofhis governorship ambition.
Also another feature of some of the posters is that aspirants align themselves with their political mentors, whom they think can help them achieve their ambitions and guarantee them success. Some of these mentors include General Muhammadu Buhari and Governor AliyuMagatakardaWamakko.
For the PDP aspirants, they seemto be a bit careful in aligning themselves with any of the party leaders, not even President Goodluck Jonathan appears on their posters.
A political observer who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said politicians who did not put party emblems and positions were conscious of the electoral law.
“The electoral law stipulates that politicians should not come out with posters carrying party emblem and the position they are aspiring for untilafter they win their party’s primary elections,” the analyst said.
According to the Public Relations Officer of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Sokoto zonal office, Muhammad Musa, explained that the electoral law particularly section 99 (1) gives time within which campaigns for elective positions should start, which is 90-days to the poll and ends 24 hours prior to the time.
“So I don’t know why they have started their own campaigns now and under which law they are operating,” Musa said.
On whether INEC would sanction the erring politicians, he said the Electoral Act was silent on this, adding that this is one of the grey areas the commission intends to address in the electoral law.
In Benue State, some PDP members also have their campaign posters and bill boards displayed at strategic places in Makurdi, the state capital without the party’s emblem.
Weekly Trust observed that a former speaker of the state House of Assembly, Mr. TerhemenTarzoor, who is eyeing the governorship seat, has his intimidating billboards positioned at the Central Bank junction, Wurukum roundabout and High level roundabout areas of Makurdi town without the logo of his party, the PDP.
Similarly, Aondofa Daniel Mailomo, a PDP governorship aspirant also has his posters pasted in virtually every nook and cranny of the city without the party’s emblem.
Our correspondent gathered that the development is not unconnected with the crisis tearing apart the ruling party at the centre. It was learnt that there is the fear amongst party members that the PDP is most likely to lose in some states including Benuein the 2015 elections and aspirants are playing safe.
“It would certainly not be business as usual for the PDP to dictate the pace in the coming elections. And that is why some of its members are watching the unfolding events carefully by concealing their party’s emblem on their campaign posters,”a political analyst, Tersoo James, told Weekly Trust.
James added that those concealing their party’s identity would continue to do so until few weeks to primary elections so as to enable them easily switch over to another party when the need arises.
But another political pundit Kumun Terfa differed.
“Those politicians hiding their party’s emblems aren’t serious aspirants. They are simply waiting to see where the pendulum would swing before they indicate their interest to contest under a party,” he said.
“I call them political prostitutes. Anything goes for them,” Terfastressed.
However, a close aide of Tarzoor who pleaded anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the press said his principal decided to conceal his party at the moment as part of his campaign strategy.
This he added is to enable him curry the support of a broader spectrum of the electorate regardless of political affiliations.
“By so doing, the electorate which my boss seeks to lead at the end of the day would suggest to him the ideal party platform to realize his worthy ambition. This is necessary to carry the people along because if given the mandate, his administration would be people-oriented,” the aide said.
In Taraba state, the only posters conspicuously seen especially within Jalingo metropolis and other parts of the state, at the moment are those of the state acting governor, Alhaji Garba Umar.
Weekly Trust observed that such posters however, bear the emblem of his party, the PDP.
Others who may be nursing political ambitions in the state are yet to start displaying their posters, perhaps waiting for such a time when INEC will give a directive to that effect.
Although, the acting governor had in a recent interview with journalists said it was too early to begin politicking since INEC has not given the go ahead for that, his supporters have continued to adorn strategic parts of the town with his posters.
“But I’m assuring you that something will be done about this; we can’t continue to paste posters until when INEC has asked us to start politicking”, Umar had told reporters in a recent interview.
Similarly, in Niger state posters of prominent politicians, without their parties’ seals have been on display in most major towns of Niger state in the past one year.
Weekly Trust also noticed that apart from pasting posters on notable structures in strategic locations, the youth are also recruited during festive periods to display the posters of such politicians at venues of some important events.
A typical case of such display was at Eid prayer grounds during the last sallah celebrations.
The posters cut across all categories of political office seekers, ranging from those vying for state assembly position to those eyeing national assembly seats, as well as those for the governorship position.
Three-term senator, Nuhu Aliyu, the deputy governor, Ahmed Musa Ibeto, the commissioner for works, Mu’azu Bawa Rijau and new entrants Mohammed Babangida and Garba Dukku, are the faces on most of the posters.
To some analysts, politicians introduced this trend of posters without logos probably as a strategy in view of the rising wave of the APC. It is also observed that all the faces on such posters are from members of the ruling PDP.
As neutral as the posters appear, politicians portrayed on them, usually deny financing the printing of the posters without party logo.
Though, some of these posters are not only without any party seal, they don’t also indicate the positions the politicians are aspiring to.
Sources close to some of these politicians told Weekly Trust that the aspirants secretly finance the printing and pasting of such posters, despite the denials.
Some observers said the circulation of posters without logos was necessitated by the fact that political parties were yet to release guidelines for campaigns as well as to test the level of acceptance by the general public.
In Buachi state, many politicians with interest in the forthcoming general elections have used party logos on the posters which are pasted on structures at major streets in the state.
Our correspondent who went round Bauchi metropolis observed that the posters either carry the PDP logo or that of the APC.
Amongst politicians whose posters are adorning the streets are those vying for governorship like the FCT Minister Senator Bala Mohammed, Ibrahim Makama Misua, a former Reps member, who represented Misau/Dambamfederalconstituency, deputy senate leader, Abdul Ahmed Ningi,EngrSadiq MahmudEngrNuhuGidado and many others who are all seeking the ticket of either the PDP or the APC.
An APC chieftain, Alhaji Ahmed Isa Tahir said “the reason why you have seen postersof politicians without party logos is because strong politicians have their own campaign organizations and majority of the posters were printed by these organizations. Such campaign organizations believe more in their candidates more than the political party platform.”