Some Nigerian citizens have dragged the federal government of Nigeria before the ECOWAS Court of Justice over high cost of nomination forms
Kenneth Roberts, Goodluck Edafe, Dr. Matthew Oguche, Macaulay S. William-Jumbo and Josephine E. Okeke, (plaintiffs) stated in a suit marked, ECW/CCJ/APP/49/18, dated October 18 and filed the same day, that the high cost of nomination and declaration of interest forms imposed on political aspirants by political parties, takes political offices out of the reach of the poor.
They contended that the act was a breach of the fundamental rights as guaranteed under article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 13 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights as well as Article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The plaintiffs held that by selling forms at high prices to aspirants, many people with genuine goals could not afford it, thereby, dashing their hopes and ambitions to serve their country through elective positions.
They contended that making it a pre-requisite to contest for an elective post under the platform of political parties in Nigeria, is to completely marginalize and exclude the poor and middle class from governance.
They are consequently seeking court’s declaration that paying huge sum of money for nomination and declaration of interest forms for any elective position is a violation of articles 21, 13 and 25 of the universal declaration of human rights, African charter on human and peoples’ right and international covenant on civil and political rights, respectively.
They are also seeking a declaration that imposition of outrageous fees upon aspirants to elective positions for political party nomination forms deliberately excludes members within the low income bracket from exercising their right of participation pursuant to article 21,13 and 25 of the universal declaration of human rights, African charter on human and peoples’ rights, and is undemocratic.
They want the court to compel the defendant (Federal Government of Nigeria) to detail its electoral body, and all other institutions, organs, agents and authorities responsible for the regulation of political parties, to take the appropriate measures to ensure that no fees, monies or payments are imposed by political parties upon aspirants for nomination or declaration of interest forms, as pre-requisite to participation in any process pursuant to the elective positions under the defendant’s constitution.
The plaintiffs are seeking an order compelling the defendant to pay the sum of N25 million as exemplary damages for the wanton infringement of fundamental rights of the applicants and its citizenry and for breach of its international obligations to respect those rights.
A date is yet to be fixed for hearing.