In December 2021, I made an appeal to the two major political parties, All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to review nomination form fees for office seekers under 35 years old in the 2023 elections.
Unfortunately, 43 days later, none of these parties have made any official statement on the matter. We must sustain the tempo until the cause is achieved.
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The review of nomination form fees by both APC and PDP is urgent to strengthen our democracy, encourage diversity, and foster youths’ inclusion in politics and leadership. It is socially, economically, and politically unhealthy to retain the same table used in 2019 for the 2023 elections.
In the 2019 elections, the gubernatorial expression of interest and nomination form sold for N1 million and N20 million respectively in the PDP.
Reports also show that PDP charged N12 million for both the expression of interest and nomination form for the Office of the President, N3.5million for Senate, N2.5million for House of Representatives, and N600,000 for the House of Assembly.
In a similar vein, the gubernatorial expression of interest and nomination form of the ruling APC attracted N2.5 million and N20 million respectively.
It also sold for N5 million the expression of interest and N40 million for nomination form for the Office of President, N7 million for Senate, N3.5million for House of Representatives, and N850,000, for the House of Assembly.
It is most worrisome that these political parties retained the fees in the recently held Anambra elections, Ekiti primaries, and others to be conducted in 2022.
While I understand that funds accrued from the sale of forms for elective offices remain a major source of funding for their operations, the decision of the parties to make young people pay the same fees as more established office seekers is unfair and inconsistent with emerging realities in modern democracies.
As it stands today, the exorbitant fees for nomination forms are mitigating against the legitimate ambition of over 65 per cent of credible and capable young Nigerians to run for elective offices. No party must retain those crazy fees for the 2023 elections.
From 1999 to date, the abysmal record of youth participation in politics is a direct effect of our mega parties, PDP and APC’s weak commitment to youth inclusion agenda. In spite of the notable efforts of #NotTooYoungToRun in improving eligibility and affordability of the political system which reduction in fees of nomination encompasses is key to unlocking the space for young Nigerians.
Both the PDP and APC constitutions give women a 50% cut in regular fees for nomination forms which is commendable. But I cannot understand in 2022 why the same constitution would make no provision for the youths. Nigerian youths deserve a 60% cut in fees.
I appeal earnestly to the leadership of these parties to stop this alienation, review and reduce the fees for the nomination forms for office seekers below 35 years of age in the 2023 elections. It is the ultimate way to reciprocate the love and loyalty, maximise the talent and energy of the youths constituency, to promote inclusion, peace and development of Nigeria.
Abdullateef is the Kwara Central Representative in the Nigerian Youth Parliament (NYP) 5th Assembly