Oyo State chapter of Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN), on Wednesday, described the N250,000 nomination fee to be paid by contestants for the position of local government chairmen in the state as illegal.
DAILY POST recalls that Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission (OYSIEC) a few days ago announced that it will conduct the local government election on May 15th this year.
OYSIEC had set nomination fees at N250,000 for the chairmanship position.
OYSIEC Chairman, Mr Isiaka Olagunju, added that political activities for the election will last between 17th of February and 14th of May, 2021.
He announced that every prospective candidate for the chairmanship and councilorship position will be expected to pay a sum of N250, 000 and N100, 000 respectively to obtain nomination forms for their respective position.
But, SPN in its reaction, condemned and rejected the plan of the commission to charge a fee for obtaining nomination forms.
SPN Secretary, Comrade Ayodeji Adigun who spoke on behalf of the party on Wednesday, insisted that the nomination forms were to be obtained at no cost.
He said, “As far as we are concerned in SPN, nomination forms for positions are meant to be obtained by all the interested candidates at no cost. This has been settled in the court judgment delivered by Justice Binta Murtala-Nyako, where it was declared that neither the INEC nor SIEC is empowered by the Constitution to prescribe or charge political parties fees to field candidates in elections. It is in the light of this, we of the SPN hold that OYSIEC decision to prescribe nomination fee is illegal and hereby demand an immediate reversal.
“The OYSIEC is a public institution whose establishment by the state government is supported by the Constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria to conduct elections into local government areas across the state. This, therefore, implies that the funding of OYSIEC including the provision of materials to facilitate its function and the basis for its establishment should be the sole responsibility of the state government and not political parties or individuals that are to participate in the election.
“Again, charging candidates a fee for nomination form is capable of undermining the credibility of the election. The election will be less participatory and be reduced to a contest among a few candidates of ruling political parties like APC and PDP who have public money at their disposal to throw around.
“Also to participate in such “cash and carry” election are other pro-capitalist parties including those often sponsored by moneybags and godfathers with their ill-gotten wealth with a view to loot public resources as their returns on investment in candidates. Except this decision is reversed, the election will be far from being credible and fair as it is only anti-poor, moneybag parties that can effectively and fully participate in such an election
“It is in the consideration of this inherent danger in the decision of the OYSIEC to charge nomination fees towards the May 15 LGA election that SPN calls on OYSIEC to immediately rescind the decision and allow all candidates willing to participate in the election to have equal access to obtain the nomination forms without any form of discrimination.
“Otherwise, we will conclude that the decision is a deliberate attempt to exclude the poor masses from participating in the election so as not to endanger the chances of candidates of anti-poor parties especially APC and PDP in the election. We call on trade unions, particularly, Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees, NULGE and pro-masses organisations in the state to also demand the reversal of the decision to charge nomination fees by the OYSIEC.”