The All Progressives Congress (APC) on Monday slammed the Enugu State Independent Electoral Commission (ENSIEC) for imposing fees on candidates for the November 4 local government elections in the State.
The N300,000 compulsory fee has been a subject of controversy, with the Inter Party Advisory Council, IPAC, in the State, also rejecting the ENSIEC’s decision.
Briefing journalists in Enugu, Rt. Hon. Eugene Odo, the Chairman of Enugu State APC Local Government election Committee, said his committee found out discrepancies and contradictions in the guideline and timetable produced by ENSIEC.
Odo, the immediate past Speaker of Enugu State House of Assembly, observed that in the guidelines, ENSIEC pegged the nomination form for chairmanship at N300, 000, but nothing was said about councillorship.
According to the APC chieftain, under the laws, nothing suggests that ENSIEC should impose levies on aspirants.
“We draw our inference from INEC. Most people who contested election in the country from House of Assembly to Governorship, National Assembly and presidency, did not pay a kobo.
“In the guidelines, ENSIEC suggested open ballot system. In the timetable, the same ENSIEC suggested open secret ballot system. We find it inexplicable. ENSIEC should take a position and it must comply with the law”, Odo said.
He further wondered why ENSIEC should arrogate to itself, the powers to monitor party primaries, whereas it only had powers to observe.
Odo said it was common knowledge that all ENSIEC members were card carrying members of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and wondered how a partisan person could bequeath a credible election to the people of Enugu State.
“We hope they would live above board. We will know whether they are there to render service or service their former and current members.
“We also observed that they have been constituting ad-hoc officials without consulting the people. They should advertise for ad-hoc staff so that credible people can apply”, Odo said.
He said his committee advised party leadership to visit ENSIEC to know whether they were ready and willing to conduct the election.
Odo said if they were ready, then APC would go for the election, but if not, the party leadership was advised to visit the heads of all security agencies in Enugu State, including the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 82 Division Enugu, Director of Department of State Services (DSS), Commissioner of Police, with a view to enlightening them on the danger that may occur if ENSIEC fails to conduct credible elections.
He made it clear that APC would not rig in the election but that any attempt to rig out the party would be resisted.
He said his committee recommended that APC should adopt internal democracy in selection of candidates for the election and this would be done through direct primaries.
He disclosed that his committee recommended the constitution of a committee to prosecute the election, led by the State Caucus of the party and other committees including fundraising committee, security committee, screening committee, campaign committee and a campaign committee to address other incidentals that may arise in the course of prosecution of the election.
On the issue of fees for expression of interest form, the former Speaker said his committee recommended N10, 000 for councillorship aspirants and N50,000 for chairmanship aspirants.