The new nomination guidelines for Lagos local government poll aspirants by the All Progressives Congress (APC) is drawing criticisms from different quarters. One of such criticisms is coming from the Lagos4Lagos movement, a group within the party.
At a media briefing Friday, the Principal Coordinator of the group, Bode Makinde, described the increase in nomination form fee as “a deliberate move to disenfranchise the majority of the interested candidates in favour of the incumbents and the ‘anointed’.”
The new guidelines pegged the nomination form fee for the position of LGA Chairman at N2,000,000. Male aspirants are expected to pay an additional N50,000 administration fee, while females get 50 per cent off, exclusive of the administration fee. The new fee is a sharp increase from N550,000, the price of the form in 2017.
A male councillorship aspirant is expected to pay N500,000, while females get 50 per cent off the nomination forms alongside the N50,000 administration fee. The group queries the rationale behind the increase and describes the effort as insensitive considering the economic situation of the country.
“This move is clearly insensitive and definitely not in the interest of the ordinary Lagosian with inalienable rights to seek and contest the elective positions,” he said.
Moreover, the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) that is saddled with the sole responsibility of conducting the elections have a fee of N150,000 as the highest to be paid depending on what office is being sought, so what is the justification of the party’s high demands in fees for nomination forms?
“The amount is too outrageous. It is not good for democracy. It is suspicious,” said Makinde, adding that the nomination form fee for council chairman shouldn’t be more than N200,000.
Also, the group views the screening procedure, which requires aspirants to be active members of the party and have a public service experience, as subjective.
Positioned as the voice of the voiceless as it campaigns to have its leader, Abdul-Azeez Olajide Adediran, occupy the executive seat in the state in 2023, the group pointed out that the local government administration system remains the closest to the people and “raising the cost of entry to this current level automatically denies a lot of people at the grassroots their legitimate ambitions to run for office”.
It called for the review of the guidelines to ensure that the election is fair to all aspirants.