Decision by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to peg its nominations forms for the presidential ticket ahead of the 2023 General Elections at N100 million has continued the ire of Nigerians, as both right groups and activists, berate the party.
Approved at the 11th NEC Meeting of the APC, Wednesday, in Abuja, include, amounts for Expression of Interest/Nomination Forms for the 2023 Elections, representing: House of Assembly – N2,000,000; House of Reps – N10,000,000; Senate – N20,000,000; Governorship – N50,000,000; and Presidential – N100,000,000.
While civil society group, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) insists only drugs barons and armed robbers could afford such humongous amount to vie to become a presidential candidate and also adding that no decent businessman can fritter away N100 million on a project he is only going to compete with others and may not enjoy the right of refunds, a lawyer, Mr Mike Ozekhome SAN, alleged that the APC was mocking the country’s democracy by pegging its Presidential nomination forms at N100m.
In separate reactions to Wednesday’s decision by the APC during its National Executive Committee meeting in Abuja to fix prices for the party’s nominations forms, HURIWA said in a statement signed by National Coordinator, Comrade Emma Onwubiko, Thursday, that the ruling party must be made up of leaders that have lost touch with realities and bent on selling their presidential ticket to the highest bidder, no matter how roguish or criminal way the person may have raised the exorbitant fees.
HURIWA told the APC national hierarchy to ‘cover their faces in unmitigated shame and opprobrium for trying to create phantom justification for why the party has pegged her Nomination fee and Expression of Interest form to contest to be the Presidential Candidate of the ruling Party in the 2023 polls at N100 million.’
The group, therefore, asked the National Publicity Secretary of APC to stop celebrating his ignorance in trying to buy credibility for the decision of his party to peg the Presidential nomination fees at N100 million when the combined total of the salaries of Professor Yemi Osinbanjo for eight years is not near enough that amount.
According to the group, APC National Publicity Secretary, Felix Morka, had said that the ruling party advised itself on the price tags on its nomination forms.
“We beg of the grossly disrespectful PRO of the APC to stop insulting the psyche and intelligence of Nigerians by trying to provide fallacious justification for this ill-advised decision of his party. To tell you that APC is behaving like a political gathering of daylight robbers, they are making N100 million look cheap when a Permanent Secretary in a civil service may need two life times to gross that amount as legitimate salaries.
“The APC was wrong to fix their ticket for Presidential form at N100 million because it has shown the party as a collective of shylock and greedy cash-chasing, money guzzling political gamblers who are in politics for the cash they can loot.
“There is no logical justification for such a crazy fees because it is even a violation of the Not Too Young To Run law which the President signed,” HURIWA added, contending that the high fees show that “APC is telling us that only looters can afford their ticket. Nigerians must come out and condemn this show of shame and the promotion of ostentatious appearances and inordinate wealth.”
“Who is that youth that can afford 50 per cent of the N100 million fees if the APC is saying youths would get a rebate? And even if youths can get that much to fritter on a nomination form, the intention and import conveyed by the APC is that politics is for the highest bidders and for those heartless enough to loot the Nation’s treasury mindlessly because the logic of paying so much to obtain a ticket is that when you win the all-powerful position of President of Nigeria, you expect to gain so much through illegitimate and criminal means,” the group reasoned.
On his part, rights lawyer, Mr Mike Ozekhome SAN, accused President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress, APC, of monetizing democracy.
Ozekhome said Buhari must explain to Nigerians how he expects Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Rotimi Amaechi, Chris Ngige, and other Presidential aspirants to raise N100m to obtain their nomination forms.
The human rights lawyer said APC was mocking the country’s democracy by pegging its Presidential nomination forms at N100m.
During its National Executive Committee, NEC, meeting on Wednesday, the ruling party pegged its Presidential nomination forms at N100m, while governorship hopefuls are expected to pay N50 million.
Reacting, the rights lawyer insisted that most of the aspirants would be unable to purchase the forms legitimately going by their income.
In a statement he signed, Ozekhome said Buhari has shown Nigerians an “example of how not to fight corruption.
“Buhari and the APC must tell us where they hope that Vice President Yemi Osibanjo, whose present annual salary is N12.126 million, will obtain N100m from when he would require 99 months to earn the N100m price for the nomination form.
“It will take Buhari himself whose salary is N14.05m 84 months (7 years) to get N100m.
“They must explain to Nigerians where aspirants like Chris Ngige and Rotimi Amaechi who are ministers with an annual salary of N2,026,400 will get N100m for a presidential form when it will take them nearly 50 years to earn N100m.
“Let Buhari and the APC explain to Nigerians how Kayode Fayemi, Yahaya Bello, David Umahi, and Okorocha, whose salary per annum is N2,223,705, will cough out N100 million when it will take each of them 45 years to earn N100 million. Where will non-wealthy members of the APC, like Gbenga Hashim Olawepo get such money from?
“This APC party and president Buhari must tell Nigerians where Senator Orji Uzor Kalu and former Senate President Dr Ken Nnamani would fetch N100m from, when their salary as Senators was and is N750,000 per month. It would take Kalu and Nnamani 135 years to earn N100m.”