ivil Society Organisations have condemned the pegging of the presidential and governorship nomination forms at N100m and N50m respectively by the All Progressives Congress.
One of the groups, Rivers State Civil Society Organisations, called on the Independent National Electoral Commission to investigate and prosecute political parties and persons found to have violated the Electoral Act with regard to the funding of election campaigns.
The Chairman of the group, Enefaa Georgewill, told Saturday PUNCH in an interview that INEC appeared to have shelved the responsibility of ensuring that infractions such as violating the Electoral Act in the area of funding of political parties and candidates were punished.
He said, “The new Electoral Act forbids individuals and corporate bodies to donate beyond a particular amount of money. Unfortunately, our politicians and the so-called businessmen sponsoring them have been flouting this electoral guideline.
“We think INEC should put its feet on the ground to investigate and prosecute persons who violate clear provisions of the Electoral Act as regards funding of campaigns and equally prosecute those who receive such fund.
“I think the law equally allows INEC to investigate political parties and candidates’ campaign funds.
Unfortunately, INEC has not been doing this over the years. We think that INEC should do well to investigate campaign funds because that is the beginning of electoral fraud and corruption in Nigeria.”
Georgewill, however, called on Nigerians to vote out moneybags and political parties who, through exorbitant nomination forms, disenfranchise the youth who might have great ideas to lead the country.
Also, the Chancellor of the International Society for Social Justice and Human Rights, Jackson Omenazu, expressed surprise that the APC, known as a progressive party, could peg its presidential and nomination form at an amount he described as outrageous.
Omenazu added that selling presidential form at N100m would affect the psyche of some politicians, especially those that would lose out after the primary.
He said, “Sometimes, those who lose become embittered and they start causing confusion in the system when they consider the amount of money they have invested.
“Everybody knows that the PDP is a conservative party and can afford to sell their forms for a trillion naira, but for a party that calls itself progressive to charge N100m for presidential form is questionable.
“Without sounding immodest, in our society today, the crooked ones are the ones who even that kind of money. So, they can afford to buy the form and cause confusion.
“The party should know that there are those who have the capacity to lead this country but because they have not dipped their hands into public funds, they can’t afford N100m.
“We are talking about economic downturn in Nigeria and a political party is charging N100m for nomination and expression of interest forms.”