Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia.
Conference of Nigeria Political Parties, CNPP, has strongly condemned the high cost of nomination and expression of interest forms of different political parties, lamenting that the sad development will give room for money bags and corrupt politicians to perpetuate their dominance of the political space.
The umbrella association of all political parties and political associations in the country urged political parties to issue free forms to young candidates.
CNPP in a statement issued Friday by its Secretary General, Chief Willy Ezugwu, said: “the trend has gotten to a worrisome level.”
According to the CNPP, “Nigeria will be the loser if the trend is not checked as good governance will be far in coming.
“How can a young graduate with capacity for quality leadership, who has been working, even in the last ten years, on a salary of N150, 000.00 be able to purchase a nomination form for a House of Representatives at the cost of N7 million as pegged by APGA, or N2. 5 million as PDP pegged its own or at APC’s N3.85 million?
“To purchase forms for presidential aspiration is out of the question as no youth can afford it, except young aspirants from rich homes or who have made money from elsewhere, not from paid employment.
“We consider this development as a deliberate design by political parties to exclude the best of Nigerians from participating in the electoral process.
“We have watched with dismay as aspirants are either protesting the high cost of the forms or are making appeals for a discounted sales of expression of interest and nomination forms.
“We therefore call on all political parties with exorbitant expression of interest and nomination forms to cut down the costs for young candidates to encourage youth participation in politics or at best issue free forms to young aspirants under 40 years of age.
“While some political parties have announced free forms for female aspirants, the prevailing high cost of forms is still unacceptable and should be revisited by political parties that are concerned to ensure equity in pursuit of good governance and to encourage the deepening of democracy in Nigeria through popular participation,” the CNPP stated.