How Ibadan School Illegally Recruited Pupils As PDP Campaign Mouthpiece

A video clip recently went viral on social media where a school teacher was instructing pupils to recite a campaign song that would convince their parents to vote for the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Oyo state, Nigeria.

The teacher wore a PDP campaign face cap while instructing the pupils at the assembly ground to say in Yoruba “daddy mummy PDP Ni Edi Bo Fun” translated to mean that “Daddy and Mummy should vote for PDP.”

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Using Google Reverse Image Search, Development News Nigeria found out that the unidentified school in the viral clip is Community Basic School Olosan in Alakia in Ibadan, the state capital.

Forcing the pupils be to become political campaign mouthpiece violates section 92 of the Electoral Act of 2022 which stipulates that “Places designated for religious worship, the police station and public offices cannot be used for political campaigns, rallies, and processions nor to promote, propagate, attack political parties, their candidates, programs or ideologies.”

In fact, the federal had warned civil servants to be guided by the provisions of the Public Service Rules as it relates to their participation in partisan politics in a memo signed last year by the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan.

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But the Community Basic School Olosan was unbothered in breaking the code of conduct to campaign for Seyi Makinde, the incumbent state governor, seeking reelection under PDP.

When Development News Nigeria visited the school, the head teacher declined to speak to our reporter on the matter and asked him to leave the school premises. However, parents of some pupils who spoke to our correspondent condemned the teacher’s apparent use of their children as campaign tools. Olarenwaju Ajoke, a petty trader whose child was one of the pupils, said she felt embarrassed by the school’s conduct, adding that the pupils did not have a choice but to obey their teachers.

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Corroborating Olanrewaju’s position, Adisa Oloku, another parent, said it was not advisable to involve young children who are yet to differentiate their right from left in such a process, adding that “it may affect them later in the future”.
A resident of the community, Toyin Adio pointed out that campaigning was not part of why they sent their children to school to learn.
She said it was not right to politicise the school as this might cause issues in the future and subsequent parties in the state might want to indulge in such undesirable conduct.

“IT’S EVEN MORALLY WRONG

Ebenezer Omejalile, Chief Operating Officer of Advocates for Children and Vulnerable Persons Network said children should not be subjected to “this type of malicious, hypocritical process.”
He urged the Oyo State Ministry of Education through its Quality Assurance Unit not to become partisan, adding that the children should be taught with good orientation through civic education in their school curriculum.

“This video clip clearly showed how uneducated the moderator and her colleagues are,” Omejalile said. “I expected the Oyo education system to have an idea of political impartiality.”

He said such conduct by the school is a danger in waiting, pointing out that, there ought to have been clear guidance the state’s ministry of education explaining to schools about existing legal duties on political impartiality.

“It is a wrong move by political parties to campaign in a school,”the Executive Director of Brain Builders, and Youth Development Initiative, Abideen Olasupo noted.

Olasupo said INEC had given guidelines on “where and how they can do their campaign, so taking it to the younger generation who could hardly even differentiate right from wrong is a very bad strategy and of course, it’s even morally wrong.”

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He added that “I think it’s condemnable, of course. INEC needs to walk the talk as regards their guidelines. Until they start sanctioning, erring politicians will not follow the guidelines and instructions of INEC.”

In a recent interview with Development News Nigeria, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman of its Committee on Information and Voter Education Festus Okoye warned political parties and candidates to desist from violating the provisions of the Electoral Act to avoid sanctions as stipulated by the Act.

Okoye pointed out that the Act already provided sanctions for violators and that adherence to the law should be prioritised by all the political parties and their candidates.

“A political party, aspirant or candidate who contravenes any of the provisions of Section 92 of the Act commits an offense and is liable on conviction in the case of an aspirant or candidate, to a maximum fine of N1,000,000 or imprisonment for a term of 12 months; and in the case of a political party, to a fine of N2,000,000 in the first instance, and N1,000,000 for any subsequent offense,” he said.

This report was published with support from Civic Media Lab.

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