Campaign adverts: Saraki accuses APCON of biasness

The leader of the All Progressives Congress in Kwara state, and senator representing Kwara Central in the National Assembly Senator Bukola Saraki has accused APCON and other stakeholders in charge of placement of political campaign adverts for the forthcoming elections of gross partisanship in favour of PDP, many he described as highly libelous, while that of APC were disapproved.

Senator Bukola Saraki who spoke in an interview with journalists in Ilorin noted that the regulatory bodies were supposed to be neutral adding that they must be accountable for any behaviour that is against the regulations that guide them.

The former governor also noted that the present development was not good for Nigeria’s democracy adding that officers in charge of the current political campaign adverts he described as offensive and libelous must be investigated after the elections and appropriately sanctioned.

His words, ‘a lot of people have been saying that, how come APC is very quiet? I think one of the reasons is we must definitely hold APCON and the people in charge of advertising responsible because they are becoming too partisan. We have cases of APC adverts being waited for approval. You don’t get approval.”

Meanwhile, he stressed,” there are some irresponsible adverts by PDP, you see some of them on TV stations. I think some of these organisations that are meant to be neutral, that are meant to be regulatory bodies must be held accountable for any behaviour that is against the regulations that guide them. I think that a strong warning must go out to these organisations particularly those that have to do with some of these TV adverts.”

“They have to be seen to be neutral and doing the right thing. But when they allow one party to be able to bring adverts including some that, in all manners, have issues that are libelous and at the same time if APC brings the same adverts, you find those TV companies not accepting them. I think this is not good for our democracy.”

He stressed that, “in a democracy, there must be a level playing field that allows all political parties the same access and they must be responsible, they must be called and told to do the right thing. And after the election this matter must be investigated and those responsible must be sanctioned.”

“These agencies have a role to play in ensuring that we nurture our democracy, that’s why they must play the same role for one party and for the other party. That’s why I am sure a lot of people are not seeing some of the adverts on TV that have been paid for by APC. I was told in one of the agencies that out of 40 something adverts awaiting approval, one or two is for PDP while 40 something is for APC. You can see this kind of irresponsibility. This must change and we must be seen to be doing the right thing,” he added.

The APC leader also said that compensation by President Goodluck Jonathan to victims of the Immigration recruitment exercise about fourteen days to election when the minister in charge was neither investigated nor sanctioned over the deaths of applicants since the incident happened lacked sincerity of purpose.

“Now that election is less than 14 days, not only to APC but anybody, it looks more of a political gesture than matter of sincerity. And I think that it shows that they did not care really and this is an after thought.”he said.

He also noted that the recent comment by Vice-President Arc Namadi Sambo that the PDP is not afraid of Card Reader is a damage control being done by the party having initially rejected the Card Reader because its afraid of going to the polls.

According to him”I think they are trying to do damage control now because I think I read somewhere, the Vice-President saying that, ‘Oh, PDP is not afraid of card reader’. I think there are still people that are trying to do the right thing in the party.I think it was a wrong political calculation for them to come out and say that.”

“If you go round, the feeling of Nigerians all over is that, let us have a credible election. Does the card reader make the election credible? Of course, it makes it credible. Does the card reader make our election move towards international standard? Yes it does. So how will anybody reject it. What many of us think is that it is just because they are afraid of going into election.”he added.

Senator Bukola Saraki also urged President Goodluck Jonathan to ensure that the forthcoming elections hold warning him not to take the calmness of Nigerians for granted.

He said, “‘The military and co have said they too are not in support of further postponement. So I think we must take him for his words and only caution that he should not do anything that would plunge the country into crisis. Nigerians want election to hold. The international community wants the election to hold and I think for the stability of this country and our democracy, elections must hold according to the guidelines as stipulated in our constitution.”

The former governor also described the latest endorsement of Artisans in the state of APC and the re election of Governor Abdufatah Ahmed and other candidates of the party as good omen that would ensure a landslide victory of APC in the state in the forthcoming polls.

His words, “I think it is a reflection of the commitment of the government and of the APC, that they have come out to endorse and I think with this kind of endorsement and the work that we have been doing, we believe that the coast is clear In Sha Allah for victory for APC here in Kwara State.”

“We’ve held so many elections and the kinds of endorsement that we are getting this time around are even more than we got in 2011 and the rate of people decamping to join our party is unprecedented. I think I’ve been doing elections here now for a while and what we are seeing at the level of people decamping to join the party shows that hopefully and it is promising that we would have a landslide victory here In Sha Allah come March 28 and April 11.”he stressed.

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