By Taiwo Adebowale
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says it has decided to reopen its open campaigns consequent upon the postponement of Presidential and National Assembly elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from the earlier scheduled date of February 16 to February 23, 2019.
A statement by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, said the decision was taken after due consideration of the provision of the Electoral Act.
The party declared that it rejects the wrongful administrative prohibition of open campaigns by INEC, holding that such administrative pronouncement was erroneous, directly in conflict with the provision of the Electoral Act and is not backed by any other law in the country.
The PDP stated that its position is predicated on the clear provision of section 99 (1) of the Electoral Act which stipulated that “for the purposes 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”.
The party explained that the clear import of above provision, in the current situation, is that given the postponement of the election to February 23, 2019, the 24 hours requirement for closure of all public campaigning falls at midnight of February 21.
The PDP reminded INEC that whenever its administrative pronouncement conflicts with the Electoral Act, such administrative pronouncement must bow before the law.
The party consequently charged INEC to be appropriately guided while directing its members to await further directives ahead of its reopening of campaigns.