By Tunde Oyekola, Osogbo
The Osun State Chapter of the National Conscience Party (NCP), has petitioned
the Osun State Independent Electoral Commission (OSSIEC) over what it described as the demand by the commission the compulsory payment of One Hundred Thousand Naira N100,000 by all candidates of all political parties participating in the Local Government Elections slated for January 27, 2018.
It also threatened to take a legal action on the commission if it refuses to withdraw the charges within 7 days of the petition.
In the petition addressed to the Chairman of OSSIEC, Otunba Segun Oladitan by Yinka Muyiwa Esq. on behalf of the Deputy National Chairman, South West of the party, Alhaji Waheed Lawal, NCP wondered why the electoral body will place such a huge administrative charge on all candidates desirous of leading the people at the grassroots.
According to the petition obtained by our correspondent in Osogbo on Thursday received by Mrs Olaoye B.O on behalf of OSIEC on November 1, 2017, the party said the charge which was announced on October 18, 2017 during the commission’s meeting with political parties is in aberration with the nation’s constitution as well as a subsisting judgment of Justice Jimi Bada of the Osun State High Court, Osogbo on March 16, 2004 which declared that the charge is invalid.
The petition reads “Our Client has informed us that at the meeting with political parties on 18th October, 2017, the representatives of the political parties were informed that each candidate of all the political parties that will be involved in the Local Government Election slated for 27th January, 2018 is to pay the sum of N100,000 (One Hundred Thousand Naira) only as Administrative Charges.”
“Please be informed that by the provision of Sections 7 (4), 106 and 107 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as Amended) that governs Elections into various Local Government Council in Nigeria, including Osun State, no administrative, no matter how small can be collected and/or imposed by your commission on each candidate of a Political Party, as it will be a total negation of the afore-stated clear provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as Amended).
The National Conscience Party NCP solicitor said it was the duty of the government to make provisions for the funding of Administrative activities of your Commission and not the candidates of the Political Parties or the Parties under any disguise.
The party also referred OSIEC to the March 16, 2004 judgment of Justice Jimi Bada in the case of National Conscience Party & 6 Ors Vs Osun State Independent Electoral Commission & Anor with the SUIT No: HOS/M.3/2004 where it was held that:
“Why should the Defendant in this case want to make life difficult or try to dis-entitle those who are interested in standing as candidates at the Local Government Council Elections who are the closest to the people at the grassroot? It is the duty of our courts to see that Justice is not only done, it must be seen to have been done and the rich should not be made to have advantage over the poor masses. Those who are rich and those who are poor are equal before the law.”
“A person may be rich and be able to pay nomination fee but it does not necessarily follow that he is honest, and a person may not be able to afford the payment of any fee and he may be honest, responsible and patriotic.”
The party however threatened to institute an action against the commission and the Osun State Government if the Chairman of OSIEC does not withdraw the charges.
“In the circumstances of the above, we urge you to use your good office to forthwith rescind and/or pronounce a total withdrawal of any form of payment of Administrative charges by the candidates of the political parties who will be contesting the Local Government Elections in Osun State. The Government is under an obligation to make all necessary funds required by your Commission, available to your commission for the conduct of the Local Government Election or forget the Election. Afterall, there was no Local Government Election for the past 10 (Ten) years in Osun State,” National Conscience Party stressed.