The director of Strategic Communication and spokesman of Tonye Cole Campaign Organization, Barr. Sogbeye Eli has called on political parties in Rivers state to challenge the Executive Order 21, that has been signed into law in Court.
Eli made the call in a statement on Saturday posted on his Facebook in reaction to the signing of the Executive Order by Gov. Nyesom Wike.
The statement read; “The impunity, corruption and naked abuse of power in Rivers State must end. We must be rescued from the rule of the thumb, nepotism, cronyism and narcissistic traits that has been visited upon us since AD 1398 (May 29, 2015).
“Say NO to Executive Order 21 that targets to bar opposition political parties from freely campaigning for votes in Rivers State ahead of the 2023 general elections.
“Political parties registered under Section 221 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and their candidates are entitled by law to without let or restraint, save as provided for by the Constitution, canvas for votes from the Rivers electorate domiciled in any of the 23 LGAs, 319 Wards and over 6000 polling units.
“Political parties (and their candidates) should proceed to the Federal High Court in the State pursuant to Section 46 to challenge and seek redress for this manifest violation of Section 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 by Nyesom Wike’s reckless Executive Order 21.
“Rivers people, political parties and their candidates should recognize and remember at times like this that ONLY the National Assembly can by the express provisions of Section 228 make laws to punish any person or political party that contravenes Section 221, 225(3) and 227 of the Constitution.
“The price of Freedom is eternal vigilance” – Thomas Jefferson, one of the founding fathers of American democracy”.
Recall that Governor Wike in a State-wide broadcast on Friday drew the attention of all political parties and their candidates to the Executive Order 21, that has been signed into law.
He said the Order specifically prohibits the use of public-school buildings, structures for and premises for political rallies without prior permission from the Commissioner of Education.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the use of public school buildings, structures and premises for political rallies is lawful only when there is compliance with the following conditions:
(a) obtaining permission from the Commissioner of Education not less than the two (2) weeks before the date of the rally; and
(b) paying a non-refundable security fee of N5,000,000.00 (five million naira) only.”
Governor Wike explained that the prohibitive Order was put in place as part of government’s responsibility to protect and secure public school infrastructure from damage or destruction.
He explained further, that it will also prevent the disruption of effective learning activities in State schools as a result of political rallies.
“We have said it before that the law is no respecter of political parties or persons, irrespective of size, status or station.
“We, therefore, wish to reiterate our determination to bring the full weight of the law to bear on any political party or candidate who dares to break the rules by plotting, conniving, instigating or perpetrating any act or conduct that may trigger or contribute to triggering electoral violence and related incidents in the State during the campaigns and the general elections.”
Governor Wike warned that any public school administrator who connives with political parties to violate the prohibition against the unlawful use of public school structures and premises for political rallies will be appropriately sanctioned.
“The Commissioner of Education and the Local Government Chairmen have strict instructions to enforce the Executive Order 21 prohibiting the use of public school structures and premises for political rallies.
“Furthermore, owners should refrain from allowing their business premises, hotels, cafeteria, relaxation lounges or private homes from being used for unlawful political gatherings and other criminal acts by party thugs and other criminal elements, including cultists, as we will bring down or seal up any of such buildings, structures or premises without further notice.”