The price of APC’s nomination form already raises questions

APC

Presidential aspirants seeking to contest for the presidency in the All Progressives Congress (APC) will pay ₦100 million for the party’s presidential nomination forms.

The party’s national publicity secretary, Felix Morka, announced this on Wednesday, April 20, 2022, after the National Executive Council meeting.

The nomination form would go for ₦70 million while the expression of interest form costs ₦30 million.

Some of the aspirants contesting for presidents in the party include former Governor of Lagos, Bola Tinubu, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi, and Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, and Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige.

Morka said that the nomination and expression of interest forms for those seeking the party’s ticket to contest the governorship election in their respective states will cost ₦50 million.

Before the briefing by the party’s spokesman, President Muhammadu Buhari presided over an extraordinary emergency meeting of the APC National Executive Committee.

Among those present were Professor Osinbajo, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; and Governor Fayemi of Ekiti, among other party leaders.

The other ratified prices for other elective positions include ₦20 million for senatorial aspirants, ₦10 million for House of Representative aspirants and ₦2 million for State Houses of Assembly aspirants.

This contrasts with the ₦40 million the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is charging its presidential aspirants, comprising ₦35 million for nomination forms and ₦5 million for expression of interest forms.

APC women

The APC in its emergency NEC meeting opposed the earlier announcement by the party’s national women leader, Betta Edu, that the women will get free forms.

Morka during the briefing said that women are entitled to free nomination forms but will pay for their expression of interest forms.

APC youth

The APC has approved a 50 per cent reduction in the price of nomination forms for individuals under 40 years of age.

Disclosing the approval on Wednesday, Dayo Israel, APC national youth leader, appealed to interested individuals not to abuse the opportunity.

“The APC NEC has approved 50% discount on nomination forms for everyone under 40 years old. This is a golden opportunity, but please LET US NOT ABUSE it. The first time in the history of the APC. Glory be to the Almighty,” he wrote on his Twitter page.

The price slash means those under 40 can now purchase the nomination form for the presidential election at ₦50 million, instead of ₦100 million.

Governorship candidates under 40 will pay ₦25 million, instead of ₦50 million, while those vying for the house of representatives will pay ₦5 million and the senate hopefuls will pay ₦10 million.

The move follows calls by the Nigerian Youth Parliament (NYP) on the APC to reduce the fees of the forms for youths interested in elective positions.

“We appeal earnestly to President Muhammadu Buhari and the leadership of the party to review its stand and grant at least a 50% reduction in fees for the nomination form for Nigerian office seekers below 35 years of age in the 2023 elections,” the group had said.

The problem

Major political parties in Nigeria have gotten used to placing high prices on nominations and expression of interest forms. And, even with complaints from different quarters, even with miscellaneous expenses involved during the electioneering campaign in view, the prizes have gone higher.

For many, and with the economy in view, this gives the impression that the elections in Nigeria are reserved for the higher bidder. And, there is an unspoken truth that these politicians attempt to get back their money when they resume office.

Bottomline

The fees intentionally leave out Nigerians who want to be aspirants but do not have the capacity to pay such amounts. And, the argument about going to other parties who have lesser fees only says that the forms are indeed for the highest bidder.

And according to a Punch article, High cost of party nomination forms is undemocratic.

Meanwhile, the price of the forms is more than Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s four-year salary, and that of all the political office holders aspiring to clinch the ticket.

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