Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission (OYSIEC) has cancelled the payment of nomination fees of N50,000 for Councillorship candidates and N250,000 for Chairmanship candidates.
OYSIEC explained that its attention was drawn to order of Oyo State High Court in Suit No.I/177/2004: NATIONAL CONSCIENCE PARTY V. OYO STATE INDEPENDENT ELECTORAL COMMISSION AND ANOR. delivered on 18th March 2004 to the effect that sections 10 (b) (e) and (f) of the State Independent Electoral Commission Law of Oyo State contravene sections 7 (4), 106 and 107 of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999(as amended) .
The commission, had earlier insisted in its 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.
But , the Oyo State chapter of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) had in a letter, dated 14th May,2021 asked 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.
APGA, in a letter written by its solicitors, Olamiji Martins of Marvic Alpha LP Nigeria , to the OYSIEC Chairman, Aare Isiaka Abiola Olagunju SAN and the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, added that it is not only outrightly illegal for the Commission to demand money from the party and indeed other political parties, but it was also condemned by an existing judgement, which warned against this common habits of state governments and indeed OYSIEC in making election a money making venture.
The lbadan based lawyer Martins referenced that APGA’s demand on nomination fee was in line with a court decision which the late Gani Fawehinmi and Femi Falana were part of.
According to the letter exclusively obtained by Mega Icon Magazine, the solicitors submitted, “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, Deacon Samson Segun Olalere 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”.
Hours after it had received APGA’s letter, OYSIEC, in a statement by its Electoral Commissioner in charge of Voter Education and Publicity, Prince Afeez Adeniyi said, “the Commission wishes to seize this opportunity to further inform the general public and specially political parties that our attention had just been drawn to the order of Oyo State High Court in Suit No.I/177/2004: NATIONAL CONSCIENCE PARTY V. OYO STATE INDEPENDENT ELECTORAL COMMISSION AND ANOR. delivered on 18th March 2004 to the effect that sections 10 (b) (e) and (f) of the State Independent Electoral Commission Law of Oyo State contravene sections 7 (4), 106 and 107 of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999(as amended) .
”In the circumstance, the commission hereby cancels payment of nomination fees of #50,000 for Councillorship candidates and #250,000 for Chairmanship candidates (as stated on Time Table and Guidelines for the Election) since the Constitution of Federal Republic takes precedence over any law or bylaws”.
The commission, has therefore resolved to refund those candidates that have paid before this pronouncement, adding that it remains resolute in its determination to conduct a free, fair, credible and transparent Local Government Election.
OYSIEC, however reminded the residents that elections to elect Councillors and Chairmen in the “33 constitutionally recognised local government” in the state will hold on 22nd May, 2021 from 8am to 3pm.
“There shall be restrictions on human and vehicular movement through the time of election”, the statement said.