Discontent over the fees charged by the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC for Expression of Interest and Nomination forms for the 2019 general elections has forced a governorship aspirant on the platform of the party to approach a Federal Capital Territory High Court to declare them unconstitutional, null and void.
The aspirant, Chief Sunny Ofehe, an aspirant for the office of governor in Delta State, is asking the court for an order perpetually restraining the party from continuing with the sale of nomination and expression of interest forms at exorbitant fees.
The suit, filed on Wednesday and marked CV/2717/18, also sought an order of the court directing the party to revert to the old regime of fees.
He joined the APC and its National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, as the first and second defendants, respectively.
According to Ofehe, he had built political structures across Delta State in his bid to actualise his governorship aspiration in the 2019 elections, declaring that the sum of N22.5m imposed by the APC on governorship aspirants is “unreasonable, huge, excessive and prohibitive”.
He also argued that “the increase of the fees of the expression of interest and nomination forms from original N500, 000 and N5m to N2.5m and N20m, respectively” was “oppressive”.
The aspirant also filed an ex parte application seeking an order of interim injunction restraining the APC and Oshiomhole from “implementing, collecting or further collecting” the sum of N22.5m as the fees for nomination and expression of interest forms for the governorship position and another order of interim injunction “stopping aspirants for the scheduled APC party primaries in Delta State from returning or further returning the collected nomination and expression of interest forms.”
Ofehe, who said the exhorbitant fees will preclude him from participating in the governance of the country and Delta State, also asked the court to restrain the defendants from further receiving “the already collected forms from governorship aspirants in Delta State”, praying the court to grant the interim orders of injunction pending the hearing of his motion on notice in which he also prayed for the same pronouncements that would last pending the hearing of the substantive suit.
Urging the court to hear the case expeditiously, Ofehe said in his affidavit of urgency that “it would be in the interest of justice to hear the matter expeditiously” because “the return of the forms has been fixed for Wednesday, September 12, 2018.”
His lead counsel, Mr Malachy Ugwummadu, also asked the court to declare, among others, “that the imposition of the excessive sum of N22, 500,000 as fees for expression of interest and nomination forms for governorship position in the primaries of the 1st defendant (APC) is oppressive, discriminatory, exclusionary, illegal, unconstitutional and therefore, null and void.”
He also claimed “that the trend and practice of imposition of huge, prohibitive and excessive charges and fees on political office aspirants including the plaintiff is the provenance of corruption in Nigerian politics.”