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Published On: Tue, Jun 24th, 2014

Delta LG Election: Anioma Group Condemns PDP Outrageous Electoral Registration Fees

Group under the aegis of Anioma Voice Worldwide Foundation has condemned what it described as Delta State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) outrageous electoral registration fees for both councilor and chairmanship aspirants.
Condemning the outrageous registration fees in a statement titled, “PDP and It’s Outrageous Electoral Registration Fees: Our Position signed by Comrade Akamesike Manuel O’Coney, Chief Messenger, Anioma Voice Worldwide and Comrade Smart Ajaja, International Relations Messenger Anioma Voice Worldwide, the group described the imposition of registration fee of N300,000 and N1,500,000 on local government councillorship and chairmanship aspirants respectively as inconsiderate, outrageous and undemocratic fraud.
“In as much 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 honor 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,” the group argued, just as they stressed that political office should emerge through popular acceptance and internal party democracy and not through ability to pay fees.
Arguing further, the group queried, “Indeed one may now ask three relevant questions:
What happens if an aspirant who had paid the fees loses the primaries? Would his registration fee be refunded? 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? 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 ?”
The group maintained 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 pointed out that 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,” the statement disclosed.Consequently, the group appealed to 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.

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