Exorbitant nomination fees: Presidential aspirant sues, APC, others

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an All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential aspirant, Mr. Christmas Akpodiete, has instituted a case against the APC, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the attorney general of the federation and minister of justice, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other registered political parties at the Federal High Court, Abuja over the high cost of nomination fees charged by the political parties.

It would be recalled that the APC had pegged nomination fee for presidential aspirants at N45 million, including expression of interest fee.

The form was initially advertised for N55 million

Aspirants for the governorship posts are expected to pay N22.5 million for both expression of interest and nomination forms. While the nomination form costs N20 million, the expression of interest form costs N2.5 million.

House of assembly aspirants pay N850, 000 while aspirants to the senate and House of Representatives aspirants are to pay N7 million and N3.8 million respectively.

The PDP, on the other hand, has fixed a fee of ₦12m million for the expression of interest and nomination forms for its presidential aspirants; governorship, N6 million; senatorial, N3.5 million and state house of assembly, N600, 000. All the fees are inclusive of expression of interest.

In the case marked FHC/ABJ/CS/951/2018, the applicant is asking the court to restrain the APC and the PDP from going ahead with the scheduled primaries and if they do, he’s asking the court to declare such primaries null and void.

He also asks the court to restrain INEC from recognising such primaries, pending the determination of the substantial suit.

Akpodiete is of the opinion that the nomination fees charged by the political parties were not only ridiculous and unaffordable, but also unconstitutional.

“The nomination fees are repugnant to the rules of natural justice, equity and good conscience.”

“It’s an attempt by the Nigerian political oligarchs to make nonsense of the just passed Not-too-Young-to- Run law, and it is a calculated move to deprive the Nigerian people their constitutionally guaranteed right to run for public offices in their own country,”  Akpodiete said.

Akpodiete is asking the court to give a judicial breath to this matter by pegging the nomination fees for all elective positions at N18, 000 because according to him, that is the minimum wage.

Akpodiete is also praying the court that if the nomination fees are beyond that amount, the ordinary Nigerian worker who earns N18, 000 monthly would be deprived the capacity to achieve their constitutionally guaranteed right, which includes the right to run for public office.

Counsel to the plaintiff, Mr. F.B Ehikioya said: “The action is based on a breach of the fundamental human right of all Nigerian aspirants and any attempt to keep the Nigerian people down shall be collectively rejected.”

The case is awaiting a hearing.

It would be recalled that Akpodiete had earlier written to the APC national chairman, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, appealing to the party to do away with the nomination fees or keep them within the minimum wage.

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