LG Poll: APGA demands scrapping of Party nomination form fee

LG Poll: APGA demands scrapping of Party nomination form fee

The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Oyo state has written to the Chairman, Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission (OYSIEC), Aare Isiaka Abiola Olagunju SAN, asking the Commission to scrap the nomination form fees for the offices of Chairmen and Councillors demanded from political parties before they can participate in the upcoming local government election, Mega Icon Magazine exclusively gathered.

It will be recalled that OYSIEC, had earlier published guidelines for Chairmanship and Councillorship Elections in the 33 Local Government Councils of Oyo State and expressly stated that Chairmanship and Councillorship candidates of political parties are expected to pay a sum of N250,000 and N100,000 respectively before picking the nomination forms and before they can participate in the election.
However, Oyo APGA, in a letter written by its solicitors, Marvic Alpha LP Nigeria , to the OYSIEC Chairman, Aare Isiaka Abiola Olagunju SAN and the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, dated 14th May, 2021, submitted that it is not only outrightly illegal for the Commission to demand money from the party and indeed other political parties.

The solicitors also noted that it would amount to an unlawful act should OYSIEC disenfranchise APGA and other political parties from contesting in the local government election on the account of non payment of the requested non-refundable nomination fee.

“The acts of intended disenfranchisement on account of failure to pay the non-refundable fee by our client is against the spirit of Section 42(1)(a-b) of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria as altered”.
Lawyers of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), in a letter obtained by our reporter, further argued, “By virtue of the provision of the Constitution, is not competent to prescribe any substantive condition or conditions for the nomination, eligibility, qualification or disqualification of person contesting elections into the Local Government Areas in Oyo State either on its own or pursuant to any law enacted by the Government of Oyo State which are contrary to the provisions of the Constitution. We further submit that it is no gainsaying that what you intend doing in this case is to state extraneous conditions against the provisions stated in Sections 7(4), 106 and 107 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and now proceeded to add some foreign elements into it such as the request for non-refundable payment of N250,000 and N100,000 for Chairmanship and Councilorship respectively.”

Oyo APGA disclosed that when the Commission refused to entertain all entreaties made to it to scrap the non-refundable nomination form fee, it instituted a suit at the Oyo State High Court of Justice sitting at Ring Road, Ibadan against OYSIEC and the Attorney General of Oyo State .
The letter reads in part, “Our client informed us that despite all its protests and that of other political parties, your Commission refused to scrap the nomination form fee and went ahead to publish a Notice and Timetable of 2021 Elections into Thirty Three (33) Local Government Councils in Oyo State which also included the prescribed fee of N100,000 and N250,OOO for the offices of Councillors and Chairmen respectively. After doing this, our client informed us that you invited it and other political parties to another meeting on 23rd February, 2021 for the purpose of looking at the notice and timetable of the election over again. Our client insists that it is not going to be part of the illegality your Commission wants to perpetrate by asking for financial deposits against the provisions of the Constitution and plethora of case laws.

 

“Our client informed us that at another forum on 2nd March 2021 held at your Commission’s Conference Room, the issue of nomination form fee was raised by the State Chairman of our client wherein he implored you to look into the matter as it has the tendency of disenfranchising lots of our client’s candidates and prevent them from picking nomination forms to participate in the elections. Our client also complained about the screening and verification exercise to be conducted by your Commission pursuant to the provisions of your Guideline and against the provisions of the Constitution but you rejected this saying that your Commission is so empowered under the Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission Law

The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Oyo state has written to the Chairman, Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission (OYSIEC), Aare Isiaka Abiola Olagunju SAN, asking the Commission to scrap the nomination form fees for the offices of Chairmen and Councillors demanded from political parties before they can participate in the upcoming local government election, Mega Icon Magazine exclusively gathered.

It will be recalled that OYSIEC, had earlier published guidelines for Chairmanship and Councillorship Elections in the 33 Local Government Councils of Oyo State and expressly stated that Chairmanship and Councillorship candidates of political parties are expected to pay a sum of N250,000 and N100,000 respectively before picking the nomination forms and before they can participate in the election.

However, Oyo APGA, in a letter written by its solicitors, Marvic Alpha LP Nigeria , to the OYSIEC Chairman, Aare Isiaka Abiola Olagunju SAN and the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, dated 14th May, 2021, submitted that it is not only outrightly illegal for the Commission to demand money from the party and indeed other political parties.

The solicitors also noted that it would amount to an unlawful act should OYSIEC disenfranchise APGA and other political parties from contesting in the local government election on the account of non payment of the requested non-refundable nomination fee.

“The acts of intended disenfranchisement on account of failure to pay the non-refundable fee by our client is against the spirit of Section 42(1)(a-b) of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria as altered”.

Lawyers of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), in a letter obtained by our reporter, further argued, “By virtue of the provision of the Constitution, is not competent to prescribe any substantive condition or conditions for the nomination, eligibility, qualification or disqualification of person contesting elections into the Local Government Areas in Oyo State either on its own or pursuant to any law enacted by the Government of Oyo State which are contrary to the provisions of the Constitution. We further submit that it is no gainsaying that what you intend doing in this case is to state extraneous conditions against the provisions stated in Sections 7(4), 106 and 107 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and now proceeded to add some foreign elements into it such as the request for non-refundable payment of N250,000 and N100,000 for Chairmanship and Councilorship respectively.”

Oyo APGA disclosed that when the Commission refused to entertain all entreaties made to it to scrap the non-refundable nomination form fee, it instituted a suit at the Oyo State High Court of Justice sitting at Ring Road, Ibadan against OYSIEC and the Attorney General of Oyo State .

The letter reads in part, “Our client informed us that despite all its protests and that of other political parties, your Commission refused to scrap the nomination form fee and went ahead to publish a Notice and Timetable of 2021 Elections into Thirty Three (33) Local Government Councils in Oyo State which also included the prescribed fee of N100,000 and N250,OOO for the offices of Councillors and Chairmen respectively. After doing this, our client informed us that you invited it and other political parties to another meeting on 23rd February, 2021 for the purpose of looking at the notice and timetable of the election over again. Our client insists that it is not going to be part of the illegality your Commission wants to perpetrate by asking for financial deposits against the provisions of the Constitution and plethora of case laws.

 

“Our client informed us that at another forum on 2nd March 2021 held at your Commission’s Conference Room, the issue of nomination form fee was raised by the State Chairman of our client wherein he implored you to look into the matter as it has the tendency of disenfranchising lots of our client’s candidates and prevent them from picking nomination forms to participate in the elections. Our client also complained about the screening and verification exercise to be conducted by your Commission pursuant to the provisions of your Guideline and against the provisions of the Constitution but you rejected this saying that your Commission is so empowered under the Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission Law 2000.

“However, our client informed us that you promised to look into the matter. On the basis of your Commission’s assurance, our client directed its Oyo State structure to get ready to participate in the 2021 local government election into the Chairmanship and Councillorship positions. Our client caused a letter to be forwarded to your Commission indicating its desire to conduct primary elections in readiness for the local government election and requesting your Commission’s presence as observers. In actual fact, your Commission duly acknowledged the said letter. Our client was able to conduct primary elections across the 33 local governments in Oyo State and presented the list of the successful candidates to your Commission and same was acknowledged.

According to the lawyers, APGA’s demand on nomination fee was in line with a court decision which the late Gani Fawehinmi and Femi Falana were part of.

It continued, “Our client informed us that there was another time when you visited its office and the issue of payment for nomination form was discussed. The National Vice Chairman (South West) of our client informed you that there is an existing court judgment procured by late Chief Gani Fawehinmi SAN against your Commission in suit number I/117/2004 between National Conscience Party on one side and the Attorney General of Oyo State and your Commission on the other side. In the above case, the Court per My Lord the Hon. Justice M. O. Bolaji-Yusuf held by declaring that your Commission is incompetent to prescribe conditions for the nomination, eligibility, qualification and disqualification of candidates to contest Local Government Elections in Oyo State outside the conditions stipulated by Sections 7(4), 106 and 107 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Our client informed us that after showing a copy of the judgment to you, you promised to look into it and revert accordingly. Till date, nothing was done and no scrapping of nomination form fee was effected by your Commission. Our client is desirous of participating and fielding candidates to contest Chairmanship and Councillorship elections across the 33 Local Government Areas of Oyo State but only being handicapped by the nomination form fees imposed by your Commission.

“This matter is already before the court and as such, all parties ought to maintain status quo until the determination of the matter.

“The law is that once a matter is in court all parties are enjoined to abstain from any act that might impugn or affect the status quo. It will amount to a flagrant disregard of due processes for any person who has notice of a pending suit either against him or against the authority for whom he works, to embark on any activity that will defeat the essence of justice or to render the course of justice already set in motion into futility or nugatory”, it concluded.

The party, however reminded the commission that it had already submitted the list of its candidates, urging OYSIEC to reconsider its earlier position and scrap the payment of the non-refundable nomination fees, or better still put the election on hold till the final determination of the matter in court

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