The Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress(APC) has vehemently opposed Executive Order 22 of the Rivers State Government stating that it is ultra vires of the 1999 constitution of the country, as amended.
In its reaction, Tuesday shortly after the announcement of the signing of the order by the state governor, Nyesom Wike, the Rivers APC, through its Publicity Secretary, Darlington Nwauju stated that such an order was beyond the purview of the state governor or any state house of assembly.
The Rivers State government had earlier in the day announced the signing of Executive Order 22, prohibiting the use of premises, buildings and structures in residential areas in urban and non-urban areas as campaign offices by political parties.
A press statement issued by the Commissioner for Information and Communication, Chris Finebone, said the Executive Order also prohibits the posting of bills or posters or any other material in unauthorised places.
It added that the governor while signing the Order condemned the incessant defacement of expensive public properties, particularly in Port Harcourt through the posting of handbills, banners, posters and all sorts of unauthorized materials.
Executive Order 22 also prescribes that “any political party or association or body of persons however called or described that wishes to use any premises, building or structure situated in a residential area in any urban area of Rivers state as campaign office must obtain permission from the Rivers State Commissioner for Urban and Physical Planning.”
Finebone said the Executive Order RVSG – 22 came into effect on Friday, November 10, 2022, is a legal instrument that forces political parties to fulfil certain conditions before embarking on campaigns in various parts of the state.
But Nwauju in his own reaction asked; “Does the governor of Rivers State have such powers to make such orders that are not under his legislative purview of the state house of assembly?
He called on all sane minds to begin to analyze and dissect the motives of making such orders saying that laws and orders were supposed to be made in the overall interest of society.
He stated; “Let it be known that both Executive Orders 21 and 22 are ultra vires of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as no state governor or the house of assembly of any state has the power to legislate on an area that is not on the concurrent legislative list. We refer the state governor to section 5 (2b) of the 1999 constitution as amended.
“Is it not laughable for the Rivers State Governor to tell the world that he wants his political opponents to come to him to obtain permission before rallies, seminars and meetings could hold?
“Section 40 of the 1999 constitution as amended clearly empowers and emboldens us as an opposition to freely associate. And section 91 (1) of the Electoral Act empowers political parties to operate without let or hindrance only to consult with the Police Commissioner of the state to avoid clashes in time and venues.
“Again we draw the attention of the international community to the shameless manipulation of the political space in the oil capital of Nigeria and the attempt by the outgoing governor of Rivers State to turn this once peaceful state into a police state. Let it be known that attempts at regulating the activities of the opposition political parties in the state keep de-marketing the image of our dear Rivers state and qualifies her as one under draconian leadership.”
The governor had earlier prohibited political parties from using public schools for political campaigns without the approval of the state Ministry of Education, saying the ministry must be notified at least two weeks before the date of any campaign in a school.
Wike said, “Applicants will also deposit the sum of five million caution fees in case attendees destroy the facilities in the schools.”
He stated that a local council chairman has the right to stop any rally if approval is not sought.
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