The Edo State chapter of the Labour Party, LP, said on Wednesday that its expression of interest and nomination forms, which cost N30 million, is the lowest-priced among the three major political parties and therefore should be affordable for any serious aspirant wishing to contest the governorship election on its platform.
The state chairman of the party, Kelly Ogbaloi, stated this at a press conference in Benin City, ahead of the party’s governorship primary election slated for February 22, 2024.
DAILY POST recalls that 18 governorship aspirants on the platform of the party protested last week against the N30 million fee for the nomination forms.
The aspirants appealed to the national leadership of the party to reduce the fees to between N1 million and N5 million, noting that the N5 million for expression of interest and N25 million for the nomination forms do not align with the principles and public perception of the party.
Ogbaloi, however, explained that the cost of elections into political offices in Nigeria is quite expensive, as witnessed in the recent general elections.
“Political party funding is a challenge. The sale of forms is a major source through which political parties are funded.
“Aside from being qualified to contest an election, aspirants must also be ready to show capability and capacity to fund campaigns and other election requirements.
“A lot of issues that may arise as a result of primaries and the election itself, which has to do with litigation arising from such activities as well as other logistics issues, make it imperative for the parties to charge a reasonable fee like ours. So that it can adequately discharge its responsibilities during and after the elections.
“Therefore, any aspirant who cannot afford the fee lacks the capacity to run for the governorship election,” he said.
He disclosed that two aspirants, male and female, have so far bought the party forms, urging others to do the same.
Ogbaloi appealed to the governorship aspirants of the party to make the necessary sacrifice by participating in the exercise, assuring that the party is determined to ensure a level playing field for all aspirants, leading to the emergence of a credible candidate.
He also disclosed that the party has reduced the fee for women by 50 per cent to ensure their participation in the governorship election.
He, however, denied the allegation that the party received the sum of N500 million from the state government to feature a neophyte as its candidate for the election.
Ogbaloi noted that the guidelines currently released by the leadership of the party concerning the governorship election in the state fall in line with the provisions of the Constitution and the Electoral Act.