By Laleye Dipo in Minna
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has rejected the administrative charge imposed on candidates contesting the November 30, 2019 local government election by the Niger State Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC), describing the action as not only illegal but unconstitutional.
The Niger State Chairman of the party, Tanko Beji, told newsmen in Minna on Wednesday that the party had written to SIEC to withdraw the decision, adding that if the Commission failed to do so, the party (PDP) will have no option than to test the veracity of the law in the court
The SIEC, in a memo to all the registered political parties in the state signed by its Secretary, Alhaji Abdullahi Bobi, asked all chairmanship and vice-chairmanship candidates contesting the election to pay administrative charges of N100,000 each, while councillorship candidates would each pay N20,000.
As for the PDP, which is fielding 50 chairmanship and vice-chairmanship candidates as well as 274 councillorship candidates, the party is expected to cough out N10.480 million.
“We will not pay, we are not obliged to pay because it is not our responsibility to fund the public project, there is nowhere in the country that this is done” Beji said emphatically.
He urged the SIEC to say when the law to back the action was passed and even if the law was passed, adding that: “When did the assembly hold a public hearing before the passage of the law
“As a public institution, we don’t think it is right for the Commission to demand from individuals to pay money to it to enable it conduct election.
“We aware that the state INEC submitted its budget to the state government and the government we learnt has graciously approved the budget. It is in pursuant of that that the Commission released the timetable for the election. It couldn’t have released the timetable without money to conduct the election.
“As a party therefore, PDP has resolved not to make any financial commitment to the Commission to enable it conduct the election.”
However, Beji said the PDP was ready to participate in the election.
“To show our readiness, it is only the PDP that has complied with the electoral guideline. We have submitted the names of all our candidates. We have done what is expected but we cannot be caged by the Commission by demanding that we must pay the sum of N4,480,000m to them” he said.
The PDP chieftain said the party had received the form EC 8A, filled and returned it whereas “other parties have not done so”.
In answer to last week’s judgment of the governorship election petition which dismissed the party’s petition, Beji said: “We have already appealed the decision of the tribunal,” but declined to give details.