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2019: Sale of nomination forms by parties unconstitutional – VATLAD

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A civil society organisation, Vanguard for Transparent Leadership and Democracy (VATLAD) has faulted the ongoing sale of expression of interest and nomination forms by the various political parties, declaring that the exercise was unconstitutional and a threat to participatory democracy.

 

The group said that the decision of many political parties to sell these forms to Nigerians seeking political offices in the forthcoming general elections amounted to deliberate attempt to discriminate against certain classes of Nigerians, who do not have deep pockets and cannot mobilise millions of Naira to purchase these firms.

 

In addition, the group said, the charges on these forms imposed an extra burden on political aspirants which were not contemplated by the 1999 Constitution. There are 91 political parties in Nigeria and nearly all of them have fixed varying amounts of money for the sale of Expression of Interest and Nomination Forms to prospective aspirants to political positions.

 

In the ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC), a presidential aspirant is required to pay the sum of N45million for both forms while the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has pegged its own charges at N12million for the same forms. There are similar charges for other categories of political offices which aspirants must pay in order to be considered prequalified to be screened by the parties.

 

Executive Director, VATLAD, Comrade Odafe Igbini, who spoke exclusively to New Telegraph in Abuja, said Nigerians, particularly the young people seeking political offices but have been shut out by these charges, could challenge the action of the political parties in courts of competent jurisdictions across the country. He dismissed the excuses that these charges were meant to raise funds for political parties and help them weed -out unserious candidates, stressing that these excuses cannot be justified under the constitution.

 

Igbini also argued that the position of the political parties that imposing fees will save the nomination process from being an “all comers affair”, amounted to an insult on the collective intelligence of patriotic Nigerians, who may not be able to afford the fees but have genuine desire to participate in the process. In previous years, Igbini said, the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) and National Conscience Party (NCP) had shown good examples by giving their nomination forms free of charge to qualified aspirants.

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