By Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Abuja
THE United Progressive Party, UPP, on Friday said that the National Executive Committee, NEC of the party has approved the exemption of the payment of nomination fees for youths from 30 years downwards, women and physically challenged for all elective offices.
The party has also said that it has reduced its nomination fees for different elective positions for interested members who are above thirty years.
Besides, the party has given conditions for the support of any Presidential candidate in the election, saying that the candidate must be someone who believes in Progressive idealogy and ready to harken to the yearnings of Nigerians on restructuring, devolution of power, establishment of state police among others.
UPP in a communiqué signed by its National Chairman, Chief Chekwas Okorie and the National Secretary, Alhaji Sadeq Masalla after its NEC meeting in Abuja on Friday, stated that it had decided not to sponsor a Presidential candidate in the 2019 general elections.
The communiqué stated that the NEC resolved at the meeting that, “UPP shall not sponsor a presidential candidate for the 2019 Presidential Election.”
It further stated that, “The Party shall use the period between now and 2023 general election to consolidate its nationwide political structures and concentrate energy and resources in active participation in other elective contests namely, Governorship, Senatorial, House of Representatives, and State Assembly elections in Nigeria.
“UPP shall continue to explore the possibility of a constructive engagement with a Political Party or Parties through alliance for electoral leverage and enhanced advantage in the democratic contests.
“NEC has mandated the National Working Committee (NWC) to review the reports of the various Committees that have attended meetings on alliance/coalition with other political parties and take appropriate decisions in the best interest of the Party.
“NEC approved the exemption of the payment of Nomination fees by Nigerian youths from the age of 30 downwards for all elective offices. This is in the spirit of the recent Act of the National Assembly on the “Not Too Young To Run Law”. Other categories of Nigerians that are exempted from paying Nomination fees for any elective office in the general election are women and those that are physically challenged.
“NEC has reviewed Nomination fees for other aspirants on the platform of the Party downwards to make participation in the elections on our Party platform affordable to eligible Nigerians. In this regard the usual fees for Expression of Interest has also been removed.”
The party commended the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, for listening to the voice of reason by assuring Nigerians of taking firm administrative steps to restore the sanctity of the secret ballot system as clearly provided in the Electoral Act to guard against votes buying that has become the order of the day.
The party ruled out the possibility of joing the Coalition of United Progressive Parties, CUPP, and also said it would only work with parties that are Progressive minded.
Chief Okorie who read the communiqué while fielding questions from journalists on the criteria for the party’s support for any Presidential candidate said, “it is a party that has ideology of progressivism, self determination, devolution of power, restructuring and state police.”
He further added that such party and its candidate seeking alliance with his must accommodate some of the aforementioned core values of UPP.
On what was happening at the national assembly and the call for the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, to resign from his position having decamped from the party platform that gave him the ticket, Okorie who was the UPP Presidential candidate in 2015, and also founder of All Grand Alliance, APGA, said the problem had become a moral burden to the Senate President.
He announced that the nomination fee for state House of Assembly has been reduced from N200,000 to N50,000, House of Representatives nomination form which was initially N500,000 has been reduced to N200,000, nomination form for senate was reduced from N1 million to N500,000 while the nomination form for governor has been fixed for N3 million against the initial N5 million.