I May Sue Political Parties Over Nomination Fees –Falana Speaks
Human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), on Saturday, restated his opposition to the sale of nomination forms to aspirants for elective offices by political parties.
Falana, in an interview, threatened to take legal action against political parties that were still selling nomination forms to aspirants despite previous court judgments prohibiting such payment.
Falana, had last week, in Lagos, during the one-day national electoral summit, organized by the Transition Monitoring Group with support from the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development, railed against the commercialization of nomination forms by political parties.
He regretted that despite President Muhammadu Buhari expressing disappointment that he took a loan of N27m to buy the APC nomination form during the 2015 elections, he had not been able to change the guideline.
Falana took on the political parties on Saturday while also indicating his intention to sue them if they continued in the act.
He said, “The conditions for contesting elections from local government, to the House of Assembly, governorship, House of Representatives, Senate and presidential levels, are all in the constitution.
“There are decisions of the court to the effect that the Independent National Electoral Commission and state electoral commissions cannot collect fees from candidates who are contesting elections.
“So, if I am going to contest the election, you can’t ask me to pay N27m as nomination fee because that is unknown to the constitution.
“Therefore, the parties cannot decide their own rules. They cannot impose prohibitive rules that will restrict the participation in the contest of an election to moneybags.
“Of course, we may have to sue the political parties if they continue this illegality. We cannot go on like this.”
He added that aggrieved aspirants should be encouraged to sue their parties.
“Aggrieved party members should be encouraged to challenge the prohibitive nomination fees imposed on aspirants by political parties.
“I believe any citizen, who meets the requirements outlined in the Constitution, is qualified to contest any election. Political parties cannot add to the constitutional requirements.”