By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan
The Socialist Party of Nigeria, (SPN) on Wednesday kicked against payment of nomination fees by all candidates wishing to contest the coming May 15 Local Government election in Oyo State
SPN in a statement issued by its Oyo state Secretary, Comrade Ayodeji Adigun made available to journalists in Ibadan declared that the introduction of the nomination fees by the Oyo state Independent National Electoral Commission (OYSIEC) is unconstitutional.
According to SPN, payment of nomination fees “is capable of undermining the credibility of the election as well as made the election to be less participatory and be reduced to a contest among few candidates of ruling political party.
“SPN welcomes the decision of the State Government to finally allow the Mr Olagunju- OYSIEC to conduct the long overdue election into the 33 local government areas in the state and at the same time condemns and rejects the plan of the commission charge fee to obtain nomination form. As far as we are concerned in SPN, nomination forms for position are meant to be obtained by all the interested candidates at no cost”, it said
SPN added, ” 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 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 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”
In the statement, the party stressed “again, charging candidates fee for nomination form is capable of undermining the credibility of the election”, adding that “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.”
“The attention of the Socialist Party of Nigeria, SPN, Oyo State chapter has been drawn the decision of the Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission, OYSIEC to finally conduct election into the 33 local government in the state and also to charge nomination fees for all the prospective candidates that will be contesting in the said election scheduled for May 15, 2021. According to the press statement credited to Mr Isiaka Olagunju, chairman of the commission, the political activities for the election shall last between 17th of February and 14th of May, 2021 while every prospective candidate for the chairmanship and councillorship position will be expected to pay a sum of N250, 000 and N100, 000 respectively to obtain nomination forms for their respective position.
SPN noted, ” 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.”