The Ebonyi State governor, Chief David Umahi yesterday said the state government was ready to appear in court with five Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) to challenge the planned suit by Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in the State.
The organisation yesterday threatened to institute legal action against the state over the plan to restrict parties from using schools, markets and other government facilities for campaigns and rallies.
Governor Umahi had last week issued executive order restricting political parties from using schools, markets, parks and other government facilities for campaigns and rallies.
The state commissioner for Information and state orientation, Barr. Uchenna Orji said that the state governor and chairman of Council assented in EXCO, Executive Order NO 3 of 2022. Executive Order to Prohibit the use of Primary or Secondary School Premises or fields, Markets or Motor Packs for Rallies or Processions or Gathering or Similar Activities in the state.
Political parties are expected to pay a refundable fee of N5million naira to enable them make use of the aforementioned government facilities.
Umahi made the disclosure at the floor of the State House of the Assembly during the presentation of the 2023 budget estimate.
The South East Governor’s Forum chairman maintained that the state commissioner for Education must be put on notice should any political party want to use any school for campaigns or rallies, adding that no boarding school must be used for rallies or campaigns.
“You will not use the school, if the children are in session, you will not use the school, if it’s a boarding school. We have had cases of rape during such rallies. You will not use the school, if we don’t have the assurance that if you destroyed anything there that you will repair it.
“You will not use the school, if you don’t have the vision to clean up the school when you finish.
they will take me to court, am a product of reformation of our democracy.
“If you still want to go to court, I will wait for you with 5 SANs. We are not afraid of going to court,” he said.
Umahi insisted that all political parties including the All Progressives Congress APC, must pay for billboard adverts adding that the billboard adverts is the law of the state.
He maintained that no matter the cries, the law of the state supercedes every emotions and sentiments adding that any political parties who fails to pay for billboard adverts must not be allowed to mount their billboard.
“If you want to go to court, the CSOs should also add that as part of their suit”.