THE All Progressives Congress (APC) in the State of Osun has begun sales of expression of forms for aspirants who are interested in contesting in the October 15, 2022 local government election in the state.
The party began sales of the forms on Monday.
OSUN DEFENDER gathered that the expression of interest form for a chairmanship aspirant was sold at N100, 000 with an additional N30,000 purportedly as administrative charges.
A councillorship aspirant’s expression of interest form was sold at N50,000 with an additional N20,000 administrative charges.
Findings by the medium revealed that majority of the current Caretaker Chairmen in their various local governments and Local Council Development Areas are also interested in contesting for chairmanship position in the election.
Some members of the party have condemned the sales of the form, describing it as insensitive to political realities.
The APC members who spoke with OSUN DEFENDER under condition of anonymity on Wednesday said the party ought to have released the form free of charge to aspirants.
They argued that the party should have given the form for free to boost the morale and participation of eligible APC members across the local governments.
This is just as some members of the caretaker committees at various LGs and LCDAs are vying for councillorship positions.
However, the APC, as of the time of filing this report, has not released guidelines for the conduct of primary elections for both the chairmanship and councillorship aspirants on the election that is 42 days away.
Sources in the APC told OSUN DEFENDER that the party was in dilemma over the legality of some political appointees, including the caretaker committee members, to participate in its primaries.
Though the Osun State Independent Electoral Commission Law, 2022 is silent on the legality of the political appointees to participate in primaries, the Electoral Act, 2022 demands resignation before participation in the primaries.
Section 84 of the Electoral Act states, “No political appointee at any level shall be a voting delegate or be voted for at the Convention or Congress of any political party for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for any election.”
However, some political analysts have argued in favour of the APC and members of the caretaker committee, stating that they were not bounded by the Electoral Act on the ground that the only law needed for the local government election is the OSIEC Law.
But a legal practitioner, Mr. Johnson Amusan, has urged lawyers arguing for and against the election to be warry of Section 150 of the Electoral Act, Section 4, subsection 5 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Section 150 of the Electoral Act states, “In furtherance of the provision of paragraph 11 of Part II of the Second Schedule to the Constitution, the procedure regulating elections conducted by the Commission to Area Councils in the Federal Capital Territory under this Act shall be the same and apply with equal force as the procedure regulating elections conducted to Local Government Areas by any State Commission.
Section 4, subsection 5 of the 1999 constitution states, “If any Law enacted by the House of Assembly of a State is inconsistent with any law validly made by the National Assembly, the law made by the National Assembly shall prevail, and that other Law shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void.”
The Osun State Independent Electoral Commission (OSIEC) had on August 15, 2022 released timetable for the conduct of the election.
In the timetable, every political party participating in the election must conduct its primary election between August 16 and September 6.
Also, the results of political parties’ primaries are to be submitted to OSIEC between September 7 and 9.
Campaigns by the parties are also to commence on August 16 and end on October 13.
OSUN DEFENDER however observes that neither APC nor any other political party has conducted primary elections and campaigns in each of the 67 local government and local council development areas.
A total of 16 political parties have reportedly indicated interest in participating in the election.
However, the medium notes that there is no specific date for the commencement of campaign in the OSIEC law, but the Electoral Act provides for 150 days campaign timeline for the conduct of any election.
Section 94 of the Electoral Act states, “For the purpose of this Act, the period of campaigning in public by every political party shall commence 150 days before polling day and end 24 hours prior to that day.”
The election has been generating controversies in the state since Governor Adegboyega Oyetola gave his nod for the conduct of the poll.
The main opposition party which won the July 16, 2022 governorship election is vehemently opposing the election on the ground that it is a waste of state resources.
PDP had through its caretaker committee chairman, Dr. Akindele Adekunle, sounded a strong warning to OSIEC to desist from allowing the body to be used by the APC and Governor Oyetola.
Adekunle said the planned election is an effort in futility and a deliberate attempt to plunge the state further into financial mess.
He stressed further that the exercise will amount to a total illegality in the face of the new electoral law.
Adekunle said, “Section 28 of the Electoral Act, 2022, stipulates that no election can hold until a notice of 360 days is given to all relevant stakeholders before such election.
“The Electoral Act also provides, without any room for Mr Oyetola’s kind of dilly dally, in section 29, a period of 180 days within which list of candidates must be published.”
“There’s no ambiguity in the fact that the period within which the outgoing APC administration in Osun State is left with, is clearly far less than the period stipulated in paragraphs 28 & 29 of the Electoral Act, 2022. This shows that the proposed election was never on the table of the APC government in the state until they got sacked at the poll by same people the governor and his juvenile team of power drunks had taken for granted for so long.”
The APC, however, cautioned PDP on how it reacts to government activities, stating that Oyetola has the backing of the constitution to run the affairs of the state till November 26 this year.
In one of his reactions to the PDP, the Osun APC Chairman, Prince Gboyega Famodun, warned the PDP to stop arrogating to itself the power it doesn’t possess by turning itself into ‘an instructor or pathfinder’ of an independent statutory body.
In a statement issued by his Media Adviser, Kola Olabisi, on Tuesday, Famodun stressed that the PDP lacks the power or authority to dictate to an independent body like OSSIEC which derives its creation and existence from the Electoral Act 2022.
Famodun said, “If the statement credited to the Osun PDP that the INEC should deny the OSSIEC the updated voters register is anything to go by, it is suggestive of the fact that the PDP is sponsoring, oiling and encouraging an avoidable heating up of the polity in the state.
“Do we need to educate the PDP handlers that in a decent and real democratic society, the court is always there to adjudicate on any constitutional matter?”
The APC argued that the directive of the PDP is “reckless, misleading, diversionary and unlawful and should be disregarded in its entirety.”