President Muhammadu Buhari’s advice to the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Working Committee (NWC) to ensure that the party’s tickets were not given to the highest bidders was disregarded yesterday, when the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) approved N100 million as the cost of Presidential nomination forms.

According to the NWC’s schedule of fees for expressions of interest and nomination forms, governorship costs N50 million, Senate costs N20 million, House of Representatives costs N10 million, and state House of Assembly candidates pay N2 million.

The N100 million for Presidential nomination form is a more than 100% rise from the N45 million it sold for the same position in 2018; and a nearly 200 percent increase from the N27 million it sold forms in 2014. The N100 million cost is also more than double that of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which set the charge for its Presidential nomination form at N40 million.

The NEC also announced that candidacy and expression of interest forms for various electoral positions will be available from April 23 until May 6, 2022.

The APC's N100m presidential nomination has sparked outrage.
Bola Ahmed Tunubu

Bola Tinubu, the party’s national leader; Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Ebonyi State governor, Dave Umahi; Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello; ex-governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha; former governor of Abia State and Majority Whip of the Senate, Orji Uzor Kalu; Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; and Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris

This comes as the party’s second highest leadership caucus (NEC) delegated authority to the Senator Abdullahi Adamu-led NWC to deliberate on topics such as candidate nomination and discipline processes.

The wide powers were transferred as a result of a motion presented by Senate President Ahmad Lawan and supported by House Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila.

In his motion, the Senate President urged the NEC to delegate its powers “under Article 13(3)(ii)(iii) (iv)(v)(vi); respectively be vested in the NWC for the time,” including delegating its powers to the NWC as enshrined in Articles 13.3 (ii) of the APC Constitution to “discharge all functions of the National Convention as constituted in between Conventions.”

Lawan’s motion also states that “the NEC devolves its power to the NWC, as enshrined in Article 13.3(iv) of the APC Constitution, to consider reports from the party’s national, state, and Local Government Area/Area Council chapters and take such decisions as are necessary to protect, advance, and consolidate the party’s gains and interests.”

“As stated in Article 13,3(v) of the APC Constitution, NEC devolves its powers to NWC to “exercise control and impose disciplinary procedures on all organs, officers, and members of the party and consider appeals brought before it by any member or organ of the party.”

Before the motion was presented and carried, the governor of Kaduna State, Nasir el-Rufai, noted the necessity to establish a time period for the NWC to execute the powers granted to it, which was established at 90 days.

Earlier in his welcoming address, Adamu chastised certain state governors for working together to cause unneeded tension inside the party, emphasizing that such governors’ actions were capable of pulling the APC apart.

While noting that the APC Constitution recognizes state governors as party leaders in their individual states, he believes they should strive for the party’s development, even as he condemns past governors’ attempts to compete with incumbents.

Adamu cautioned that there was nothing like co-leaders, referring to the powers granted to him and the NWC to take care of the implementation of its election timeline and discipline.

Attempts by governors to dictate the nomination process, according to a Presidency source, will fail because “since Buhari did not prescribe for them who would follow them in their states, how can they be the ones to suggest who becomes the next President?”

THE N100 million allocated by the APC for presidential hopefuls is significantly more than President Buhari’s and Vice President Osinbajo’s four-year salary. With the President’s current pay of N14.058 million yearly or N1.171 million monthly, according to a breakdown by the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, the N100 million APC nomination form represents the President’s income for nearly 85 months or seven years.

The N100 million nomination form represents his salary for 99 months, or eight years and three months, for the Vice President, who now receives N12.126 million yearly or N1.01 million monthly.

The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to investigate the source of wealth of any presidential aspirant who chooses the APC presidential nomination and expression of interest forms.

Emmanuel Onwubiko, the group’s National Coordinator, announced this in a statement yesterday. Only unscrupulous politicians, according to the organization, could pay that much for a nomination form.
“Anyone who buys the nomination form at such a scandalous price should be detained and turned over to law enforcement authorities such as the EFCC, ICPC, or the Nigeria Police Force for inquiry into the source of the money,” HURIWA added.

“We had just finished carpeting the opposition PDP for sabotaging the process of nominating its presidential candidate by inflating the cost of its nomination form to N40 million; little did we know that the politicians who run the Federal Government and have wrecked the national economy would peg theirs at the extravagant cost of N100 million.”

“This same APC administration is unable to satisfy the budget responsibilities for federal institutions, leaving millions of public school kids to walk around in their homes owing to a two-month-long strike by university instructors.”

“It is a pity that individuals seeking to control Nigeria are forced to spend so much money on paperwork only to signify their initial purpose as people whose sole goal would be to return their massive investments while further impoverishing the public.”

Another rights group, the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), has urged on all Nigerians to denounce money politics, calling the cost of the APC form “horrible.”

“It is disgusting that the ruling party, to which the President belongs, has authorized the expression of interest and nomination forms for its presidential ticket at N100 million,” stated Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani), Executive Director, CISLAC/Chairman, Transition Monitoring Group (TMG). This is especially important at a time when many people have expressed dissatisfaction with the level of youth participation in partisan politics and have called for deliberate measures to create an enabling environment for greater inclusion and active participation of women and youths in politics and governance of the country.

“A critical point to consider is ‘who can legitimately afford N100 million for a Presidential ambition?'” This heinous move by the APC begs the issue, since it only serves to marginalize youths, women, and ordinary residents in the following scenarios.

“Despite promises of a 50% drop in nomination costs for women and youths, it is apparent that N50 million remains greater than the N45 million presidential candidate charge for 2019.” This appears to exclude the youths, women, and ordinary Nigerians who have lobbied for improved chances to use their rights to declare their interests and run for office.

“Today’s ruling party decision makes a mockery of the efforts of all stakeholders and the general public who worked tirelessly to obtain President Buhari’s signing of the Not Too Young To Run bill into law on May 31, 2018.” It re-emphasizes the administration’s lack of sincerity of purpose and political contradictions in its decisions/commitments to any cause or objective.

“Needless to say, the Not Too Young To Run law has been reduced to nothing more than a sham that conceals the true drivers of Nigeria’s retrogressive politics, which include money politics, godfatherism, and the lopsided economic disparity between the mighty old ruling class and the seemingly apathetic youths, deliberately impoverished by the same criminal political elite.”

However, Chief Chekwas Okorie, an APC chieftain, has remarked that the party’s hefty presidential nomination cost will make the primary contest less chaotic, emphasizing that it will also assess the sincerity of the hopefuls. Okorie also argued that it would provide opportunities for democratic growth and expansion, since it was likely to assist other fringe political groups.

He stated that politicians have continued to act as if there were only two political parties in Nigeria, the APC and the PDP, denying the growth of smaller political parties, while emphasizing that with the development, politicians desirous of serving could still find viable platforms in other smaller parties.

“I believe the APC aims by this to sort out unserious contenders,” he stated, adding that “anyone who truly wants to fight the president of this country would begin with his desire to participate in the primary election.” Anyone who can cough up N100 million has demonstrated a certain amount of sincerity. Its sole purpose is to make the primary election less chaotic. The party has said that the presidential primary election would be held by indirect primaries, and that the convention will include 7,800 delegates.

“In order to make things less chaotic, they start determining the seriousness from that aspect.” Other obstacles may exist in order to reduce the number to a tolerable fraction. The amount of expressiveness displayed by members of the president is unfathomable. The Southeast alone has a plethora of aspirations. As a result, it is not a terrible idea to utilize the costs to identify those who are serious.”

When asked if the party’s stance would allow moneybags to take over the political sphere, Okorie answered it would not, emphasizing that “paying N100 million to buy a presidential form does not correlate to winning the election.”

A FEW HOURS AFTER THE APC LEADERSHIP ANNOUNCED THE SALE OF THEIR PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATIONS FORM, Aminu Suleiman, Director General of Tinubu Support Organisation (TSO), signed a cheque to acquire the form for former Lagos governor, Bola Tinubu.

Suleiman, a Kebbi-born international contractor, underlined his conviction in Tinubu’s ability to positively reshape Nigeria as President in a statement on the support group website.

“Asiwaju has assisted, uplifted, and lifted many people, and he is a guy with a compassionate heart,” the statement says. Right now, the only thing I can do is purchase the N100 million APC Presidential Expression of Interest and Nomination Form for my father and mentor.

In the meantime, the PDP on Wednesday urged the APC not to nominate a candidate for the presidential election next year due to the party’s dismal record since 2015. PDP National Chairman Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, speaking as he greeted Akwa Ibom State Governor Udom Emmanuel, one of the party’s presidential hopefuls, said Nigeria has experienced a slew of difficulties since the APC gained office in 2015. Ayu further warned that the APC is split and would vanish from Nigeria’s political scene.

“They can’t even organize a convention.” They have a forced consensus in place, and everyone is required to sign. We’re waiting for their presidential convention.

“We challenge them to have an open presidential convention, as we will, so that Nigerians can see the difference between a political party willing to restore Nigeria and a disorganized political party that has ruined Nigeria,” he stated.

President Buhari, on the other hand, has stated that his administration has performed admirably despite the scant resources at its disposal. Speaking at the party’s NEC meeting in Abuja yesterday, he claimed that when his administration took over, terrorists controlled several local government areas and the South-South, which now enjoys relative calm, was restive.

“I’d prefer us to consider the scenario before we arrived.” How many municipal councils in the Northeast were under terrorist control? We all know what the situation was in the South-South; today we have relative tranquility. We performed admirably given the resources at our disposal.

The President also warned against imposition inside the ruling party, claiming that such authoritarian tendencies had lost the APC several seats. He urged party members to follow due process in all party processes and to create additional anti-corruption tools.

The APC National Publicity Secretary, Felix Morka, has stated that the party has yet to decide on zoning and the manner of primaries it would use ahead of the 2023 Presidential election. Morka made the remarks Friday night on Channels Television’s Politics Today, just hours after reports stated that the party had chosen to hold indirect primaries.

When pushed to clarify, he stated, “That was not determined today.” On the subject of zoning, he stated, “No.” That was also not discussed today. But, given that the NWC has the right to rule on those issues, I’m confident the party will make a decision in the coming days.”

The APC reportedly adopted the indirect style of primaries earlier in the day, following the party’s 11th National Executive Committee meeting at the Transcorp Hotel in Abuja.

“There was no clear debate regarding the manner of primary, but the timing appears to imply indirect primaries,” Kebbi State Governor Atiku Bagudu remarked after the meeting.

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