By Emma Una
CALABAR—INTER-PARTY Advisory Council, IPAC, Cross River State chapter, has said that the levies imposed by Cross River State Electoral Commission, CROSIEC, on party candidates seeking to contest the 2017 local government election are exorbitant and exploitative and should, therefore, be reviewed downwards or face legal action.
In a communiqué after its meeting, yesterday, by its state Chairman, Mr Baron Eyo, in Calabar, IPAC said it was excluded by CROSIEC in the formation of the guidelines for the election, an action it said was deliberate to allow the electoral body impose fees and levies on candidates with impunity.
“The exorbitant financial demands by CROSIEC are meant to skew the election in favour of rich people, who may not be the choice of the electorate because the popular aspirants may not be able to afford such high levies,” he said.
According to him, the fees charged in previous elections were far lower than what CROSIEC is demanding now, a time of recession, and called for a downward review or else it would be forced to resort to litigation to force a cut in the fees imposed on its candidates for the elections.
“During the era of Senator Liyel Imoke, chairmanship candidates were charged N70,000 for nomination forms but the same fees had been hiked to N350,000 by this government while the councillorship was N25,000 and now it has shot up to N150,000 which is over 200 percent increase in a time of recession.”
IPAC listed all the charges by CROSIEC on chairmanship and councillorship candidates on sundry matters such as nomination, non- violence commitment, refundable and processing fees, to the tone of N1.2 million while councillorship candidates are to pay N500,000 which it said was unacceptable.
“If CROSIEC should demand so much from candidates, what would the parties which need funds to develop charge the candidates? We, therefore, demand an immediate downward review of these levies or we would be left with no option than to take legal action against CROSIEC,” he added.