By Tony Edike
Enugu – Opposition political parties in Enugu state are protesting the high nomination fees imposed by Enugu State Independent Electoral Commission (ENSIEC) on contestants for the State Local Government Chairmanship and Councillorship elections, slated for December this year.
Already, the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA) had concluded plans to drag ENSIEC to court, to challenge its decision to impose the nomination fees, which it described as unconstitutional and illegal.
ENSIEC had imposed mandatory nomination fees of N200,000 and N50,000 on Chairmanship and Councillorship aspirants respectively, as precondition for participating in the council election, a development that has been condemned by opposition parties in the state, especially the PPA.
The opposition parties said the levy by the state electoral body had no constitutional backing, arguing that relevant sections of the Nigerian Constitution relating to candidateâ€™s qualification for participation in elections made no provision for payment of any fee to the electoral body.
Apart from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, which appears to be comfortable with the fees, many of the opposition parties operating under the umbrella of the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP), have seriously protested againstÂ it, alleging that it was a ploy by the state electoral body and the PDP government to discourage other parties from fielding candidates for the council polls.
A chieftain of the PPA and former governorship candidate of the Labour Party in the state, Chief Okey Ezea, who spoke with Vanguard on the development, yesterday, confirmed that the PPA was heading to court to challenge the â€œillegal imposition of feesâ€ on contestants for the December local government elections.
He pointed out that Section 7(1) of the 1999 constitution, which specifically made provision for local government administration as well as sections 106 and 107 relating to elections into the House of Assembly made no provision for payment of fees by candidates seeking elective positions.