From Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
Ogun State Independent Electoral Commission (OGSIEC) has cancelled the nomination fee deposit for Chairmanship and Councillorship candidates in the forthcoming local government elections in the state for all political parties.
OGSIEC’s Chairman, Babatunde Osibodu, made this known while fielding questions from newsmen in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, on Saturday.
He explained that though, OGSIEC had in the guidelines released earlier, stipulated the payment of non-refundable deposit of N200,000 and N100,000 by intending candidates nominated and cleared to contest the chairmanship and councillorship elections in the LG poll, the fees have now been cancelled by the electoral body.
“You will recall that we had earlier asked male Chairmanship and Councillorship candidates to make a non-refundable deposit of N200,000 and N100,000 respectively, the Commission was, however, inundated with calls for the cancellation based on a particular court judgment. We did promise that we would revert our decision, if any of the political parties was able to provide the said judgment. Unfortunately, none of them was able to come up with the judgement until recently.
“We took it upon ourselves after the Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) strike was called off to request a copy of the judgement from the Chief Registrar of the Ogun State High Court. We have now received a CTC of the judgement in the case of the National Conscience Party of Nigeria (NCP) and others, versus OGSIEC and Attorney- General of Ogun State as delivered in May 2004 by Hon. Justice G.O Soremi to the effect that Sections 14,15 and 16 of the Ogun State Electoral Law of 2007 contravene Section 7 (4), 106 and 107 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As amended). Consequently, the Commission has decided to cancel payment of nomination fees as earlier announced”, Osibodu stated.
While noting that the OGSIEC had not collected money from any of the political parties or candidate prior to the latest decision, the chairman reiterated the electoral body’s resolve to be neutral, fair, impartial, even-handed and transparent in the conduct of the election.
He affirmed that OGSIEC would work within the ambit of the law as provided, saying ”the cancellation of nomination fee deposit is an evidence of our submission to the law and good conscience”.
Osibodu, however, disclosed that in terms of security during the poll, the Commission has scaled up preparation and synergy with the various security agencies to ensure that the exercise is peaceful across the state, assuring voters of violence-free council polls come 24th July, 2021.
The OGSIEC’s boss further noted that the list of all cleared candidates were being transmitted to all political parties who have presented candidates for the poll, submitting “parties that haven’t collected theirs are advised to visit the Commission’s office at Oke Ilewo and obtain nomination forms for their candidates without further delays”.