Posted by News Express | 24 June 2014 | 3,998 times
Anioma Voice Worldwide has strongly condemned the high fees which the Delta State Chapter of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is charging aspirants for the positions of local government councilor and chairman. The election for the said positions is scheduled to hold in October this year.
Anioma Voice Worldwide in a statement jointly signed by the Chief Messenger, Comrade Akamesike Manuel O’coney, and International Relations Messenger, Comrade Smart Ajaja, described PDP’s nomination fees (N300,000 for councillorship aspirants and N1.5m for LG chairmanship aspirants) as “inconsiderate, outrageous and undemocratic fraud.”
It urged the Delta State Independent Electoral Commission “to look into this matter and if possible prevail on the party to review the fees so as to ensure equal/level playing field for all genuine aspirants with good intention.”
According to Anioma Voice Worldwide in the statement, a copy of which was made available to News Express, “Inasmuch as we are not assuming the position of prescribing electoral fees for political parties, it is our belief that imposing such exorbitant fees on political aspirants at the local council level is not only undemocratic, it is also a reduction of the rights and liberties of the people to aspire to any political office. Such a registration fee is also a devaluation of the intelligence, dignity, and the political learning process of citizens in our nascent democracy.
“The registration fee is a destruction of the credibility, prestige and honour of the nation in the eyes of the people of the world as it will create room for money bags and godfathers to hijack the political/electoral process. We believe that candidates to political office should emerge through popular acceptance and internal party democracy, and not through ability to pay fees. Indeed one may now ask three relevant questions:
“a. What happens if an aspirant who had paid the fees loses the primaries? Would his registration fee be refunded?
“b. What happens if a candidate who knows little or nothing about service to the people, but was able to pay the fee, gets elected? Would ability to pay the high fee necessarily translate to ability to lead?
“c. What happens when a candidate is very qualified and ABLE but unable to afford the registration fee and therefore forced to accept ‘voluntary sponsors’ from those rich political jobbers around who now return soon enough to demand and enforce collection of their ‘returns on investment’ to the general detriment of the electorate?
“We believe that the high registration fee will not help to solve the problem of leadership, accountability and transparency at the local council level, but will instead lead to corruption and pillaging of the local council treasury in a bid to re-coup the cost of electioneering campaign. It is unfortunate that at this point of our democratic dispensation when competent and capable Nigerians are being encouraged to get involved in politics and governance of our land that a party like the PDP would adopt such a policy that can only help in shutting away people with good intent to manage our affairs.
“It is also our belief that the democratic process is the only path that will help society to peacefully overcome the challenges of governance, and imposing stiff fees will only shut out competent and capable candidates.
“Therefore, we call on the State Independent Electoral Commission to look into this matter and if possible prevail on the party to review the fees so as to ensure equal/level playing field for all genuine aspirants with good intention.”
•Photo shows Delta State PDP Chairman, Chief Peter Nwaoboshi.
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