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Socialist Democracy Feb - Mar 2003

 

"Processing Fees Must Be Totally Withdrawn" – Lagos NCP

Following massive opposition to the illegal "processing fees", INEC on the 29th January, announced the reduction in the said fees. But in a quick reaction to the latest decision, the Lagos State chapter of NCP has called for total cancellation and not partial reduction of the fees.

In a statement signed by Segun Sango, the state chairman of the party, the NCP says: "The attention of the Lagos State Chapter of the National Conscience Party (NCP) has been drawn to a statement credited to Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and repeated in some national newspapers including the Guardian of Thursday, January 30, 2003, to the effect that the commission has decided to slash its illegal so-called processing fees imposed on political parties candidates by about 80%. Consequently, candidates seeking to contest for political offices will now be expected to pay the following charges: Presidential candidate N100, 000 instead of N500, 000, Senatorial candidate N50,000 instead of N250, 000, House of Representatives N30,000 instead of N150,000, Governorship candidate N60,000 as against N300,000, and House of Assembly N10,000 instead of N50,000.

While we acknowledge the reduction in the said unnecessary, illegal and provocative fees by INEC, we wish to state without mincing words that our position remains the same on this issue. We maintain that the so-called processing fees is illegal, unconstitutionally, null and void, abinitio and it should totally be withdrawn.

Though INEC claims to derive the powers to impose the illegal fees on political parties from section 21 subsection 4 and 8 of the Electoral Act 2002, but such a claim is false. There is no existing constitutional or legal provision that empowers INEC to impose any such fees on candidates. In fact what the constitution state is that the Federal Government shall subsidise political parties and this is contained in section 228(c) of the 1999 constitution and section 81(c) of the electoral act 2002.

Therefore INEC is only perpetrating illegality by attempting to impose the so-called processing fees on political parties and their candidates. As a principled political party that has always fought against illegality and struggled for the respect for the provisions of the constitution and enforcement of the constitutional and democratic rights of Nigerians, particularly the poor working masses, whom INEC's illegal processing fees is targeted against, we shall continue to fight this latest illegality of INEC, with all legitimate means available until total victory is achieved and the illegal fees are totally withdrawn.

We are however happy that by our earlier actions and opposition to the illegal fees, this partial reprieve has been achieved.

Meanwhile, may we also use this medium to condemn the action of the police on Wednesday 29th January, 2003 when men of police force physically prevented our members, who were exercising their constitutional right to peaceful protest to the Lagos State office of INEC to register our opposition to the illegal processing fees.

We are baffled that even in a democracy the police could resort to such unconstitutional and unethical act with so much impunity."

 

 

Continued ...