Edo election is for serious aspirants, No going back for the N30m form price– Labour Party
The National Leadership of the Labour Party has said the N30m charged for nomination and expression of interest forms for the Edo State governorship election will not be reduced.
The LP National Publicity Secretary, Obiora Ifoh, who stated this in an interview with The PUNCH on Sunday, appealed to all aspirants to source for the money.
Describing the Edo State governorship poll as a serious business, the LP Publicity Secretary wondered how any aspirant who could not raise N30m for forms would get money “to prosecute the main election that will cost you hundreds of millions.”
Ifoh spoke in response to the call by one of the aspirants of the Labour Party in the Edo State governorship election, Egbe Omorodion, on behalf of three others, calling on the party to review the N30m fee for forms.
Omorodion noted that there were other aspirants who felt the same way, but none had contacted him, adding that there would be a meeting on Monday (today) to harmonise their position and make it known to the party.
The party in the state had recently courted controversy when some aspirants and party members alleged that it had been hijacked by moneybags.
However, the Chairman of the party, Kelly Ogbaloi, debunked the claim, adding that the party would ensure a level playing ground for all the aspirants.
Already, the party has 34 aspirants who are vying to pick its ticket ahead of the primaries in February.
Omoridion said they were not compelling the party to bring down the price of the form, but they were appealing to the party leadership so that people with good intentions were not excluded from the process due to the price of the form.
He said he was struggling to strike a balance between his conscience and the price of the form, lamenting it could silence their supporters who wanted to be heard through the ballot.
He said, “I can tell you that four of us (are) calling on the party to bring down the price of the forms. We are going to have a meeting on Monday to harmonise our position and make our feelings known to the party hierarchy.
“We feel that the price of the form signifies the monetising of politics which is not what we want in the polity. Forms were sold for N15m each for the Imo State election. Why is it different in Edo?
“We are not compelling the party to review the price but appealing to them so that more people can take part in the process. We represent real change and if we are shut out, the people we represent will not have a voice.”
Omorodion, who is the Chairman of the LP in the United Kingdom, said the sale of forms should not be used as a tool to generate funds for the party as people might become disgruntled if they feel exempted by the cost of the form.
He also said the party had not lost steam after Peter Obi lost the presidential election but noted that, “we have not had the candidate to shake the base.”
But in reaction, the LP National Publicity Secretary, Ifoh, described the Edo State governorship as serious business for the party.
He stated, “My immediate reaction to this is that of the three major political parties in Nigeria, the Labour Party is still charging the lowest. And we have a stronger and better opportunity to win the Edo State governorship election.
So, we are into a serious business, and if you cannot buy form of N30m, how would you prosecute the main election that will cost you hundreds of millions? In the Edo State governorship election, we are not just out there to fill names, we are out there to fill quality names that can win election for the party.
“So we appeal to the aspirants to understand and bear with us. We appeal to them to look for the money. The party has taken a decision. And we will not reverse the fees charged for expression of interest and nomination forms.”