As the Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission (OYSIEC) perfected plans to conduct local government elections, the Oyo State Chapter of Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) has faulted the Commission’s decision to charge nomination fees for party candidates for the position of chairmanship and councillorship.
The News Carrier NG reports that every candidate for the positions of Chairman and councillor is expected to pay a sum of N250, 000 and N100, 000 respectively for nomination forms. The council polls hold on May 15, 2021 despite the pending legal battle between Oyo ALGON and the Oyo State Government.
The SPN, in a statement issued by its State Secretary – Comrade Ayodeji Adigun, noted that
OYSIEC nomination forms should be given to party candidates at no cost. The party made a reference to 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.
The party maintained that OYSIEC’s decision to prescribe nomination fees is illegal and demand immediate reversal.
The statement read in part:
“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 election 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 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 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” the statement concluded.