Renowned lawyer and human rights activist, Femi Falana (SAN) has criticized the sale of nomination forms by political parties to candidates who are seeking to contest elections on their platforms.
Falana said a court has declared such fees for nomination forms as illegal, in a case he was part of and led by the late Chief Gani Fawehunmi in 2003.
He stated this in his keynote address on Monday in Lagos, at a National Stakeholders Summit organised by the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) and DFID, with the theme: ‘Engaging the 2019 Electoral Process for Improved Citizens’ Participation and Public Confidence’.
Falana said: “It is illegal and prohibitive to collect nomination forms. When you do that, you are excluding people from participating in the democratic process. In 2003, INEC attempted to collect money for nomination forms. Late Chief Gani Fawehinmi led us to court and the court held that it is illegal and unconstitutional to collect nomination forms, after we have dragged not less than seven to eight state governments to court over money for nomination forms for local government elections.
“The TMG may wish to put these cases together for people to know their rights. By the way, what is a nomination form? A sheet of paper! What is embarrassing for some of us is that President Muhammadu Buhari complained that he was asked to pay N27m in 2015 for his own nomination form and had to take a loan to raise the money. Now that Buhari is the President of Nigeria and leader of the ruling party (APC), what has happened? I think TMG will also want to take this up, especially the legality of nomination forms so that you can open the democratic space for people to contest and participate in the electoral process.”