The Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission (OYSIEC) has said the nomination fee imposed on candidates for the May 22, local government elections in the state has been canceled.
The commission also stated that it is ready to refund those it already collected from.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Electoral Commissioner, Voter Education, and Publicity, Prince Afeez Adeniyi, and made available to newsmen in Ibadan at the weekend
Recall that the commission had stipulated in its guidelines a nomination fee of N250,000 for chairmanship candidates and N50,000 for councillorship candidates.
Meanwhile, the commission had also released the names of qualified Chairmanship and Councillorship candidates of 17 political parties who signified their intentions to participate in the May 22, local government elections.
However, some political parties had rejected the payment of nomination fees on the ground that such could disenfranchise some who were willing to exercise their rights.
The commission said that its attention was drawn to an order of Oyo State High Court in Suit No.I/177/2004: National Conscience party Vs OYSIEC and Another.
“The order delivered on March 18, 2004 to the effect that sections 10 (b) (e) and (f) of the State Independent Electoral Commission Law of Oyo State contravened sections 7 (4), 106 and 107 of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999(as amended).
“In the circumstance, the commission hereby cancels payment of nomination fees of N50,000 for Councillorship candidates and N250,000 for chairmanship candidates as stated on time-table and guidelines for the election.
“This action is necessary since the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria takes precedence over any law or bylaws,’’ it said.
The OYSIEC called on all political parties which showed interest in participating in the elections to submit names of their party agents in the polling units, wards and collation centres of OYSIEC offices of the 33 local government councils of Oyo State on or before the close of work on Tuesday, May 19, for necessary actions on the part of the commission.
The OYSIEC restated that elections would take place in the 33 constitutionally recognised local governments in the state from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on May 22.
It stressed that there would be restrictions of human and vehicular movements throughout the period of the election.
The commission as well called on all eligible voters to turn out en masse on May 22, for the elections assuring them that their votes would count.