Does the APC expect Nigerian youths wishing to run for President in the 2023 general elections to use JUJU (African magic) to raise funds and purchase the N100 million nomination form fixed by the APC for Presidential aspirants?
With little doubt, the ruling all Progressives Congress (APC) has completed its zoning formulae and zoned its presidency to corruption and impunity. This is clearly the case when viewed within the context of the exorbitant, outrageous, incomprehensible and highest-bidder price tag of N100 million fixed by the APC as the cost of nomination forms for aspirants wishing to contest the 2023 Presidential election under its platform. N70 million for the form and N30 million for ‘expression of interest’.
Yes the nomination forms for the APC now goes to the highest bidder. It is mind-boggling to fix the price of nomination forms and EOI for the Presidency at N100 million.
The APC is literally saying that ‘you can purchase the form for N100 million and recoup your investment when you get to office in 2023 through any means including corruption. No problem. The price tag is a recipe for corruption without doubt.
Does the N100 Million cost of forms portray hope for a NEW NIGERIA or a sustenance of the current obnoxious status quo? You bet the latter is the case.
If anything, the N100 million price tag has further pushed Nigeria towards the brink of the abyss. It has reestablished the fact that corruption rules in Nigeria. The price tag will clearly disenfranchise youths and other young people who did not or have not had the chance to help themselves with public funds.
With hindsight, you will reckon that only someone who made easy money through government along the route of corruption will pay N100 million to purchase a nomination form without thinking twice. Nobody who made money through legit means will pay N100 million to buy a nomination form willy-nilly.
The N100 million APC distasteful cost of nomination forms is outside the prism of logic and commonsense and could potentially block any chance of producing the right president for Nigeria in the 2023 elections.
NOT-TOO-YOUNG TO RUN ACT AND THE N100 MILLION COST OF FORMS.
By pegging the cost of nomination forms at N100 million, the APC has offered a carrot to the Nigerian youths with the right hand and taken it back with a stick on the left. The hype that greeted the very popular not-too-young-to-run act is now dimmed by the disdain that accompanied the N100 million cost of nomination form for the Presidency.
Clearly, the N100 million cost of nomination form is a well conscripted and orchestrated design to disenfranchise the youths/young people and ‘scheme them’ out from running for public office particularly the Presidency,
The Buhari administration should be commended for not only promoting the hugely popular not-too-young-to-run bill but also signing it into law on time. The bill is now an act but it’s essence is defeated by the N100 million price tag which obviously, the youths cannot afford.
Fixing the cost of nomination forms so unbelievably high will not bring about any ‘change’ to Nigeria that the APC promised.
To the contrary, it will frustrate the young generation and demoralise them from runnning for office and politics generally.
It will cog any efforts at producing the right leaders to fix Nigeria.
It can be recalled that during the 2019 general elections when yours truely ran for President under our great party the APC, I was forced to withdraw from the race when the then Adams Oshiomhole led APC NEC fixed a price tag of N45 million for the Presidential form.
I feel, and very strongly too, that since I am not running for office to enrich myself, i shouldn’t even contemplate buying a mere form to run for President at an outrageous cost of N45 million (that’s if I have that cash, which I don’t).
Now it is twice that amount (N100 million).
In that interview in 2018 with the Daily trust, blue print and other newspapers, I made it clear that the N45 million was meant to ensure that the youths didn’t contest for President in 2019 so that the old generation and worn-out conventional politicians will continue to run the show under the business-as-usual method and keep Nigeria perpetually on its knees.
My fears were corroborated when the hugely unpopular N100 million cost of forms was announced at the last APC NEC meeting 3 days ago.
It should be borne in mind that not all Nigerians can qualify for a loan especially when it is sky-high at N100 million. Impliedly, it means that only the money bags who made money from government and who can afford it, will contest for the Presidency in 2023.
Albeit the APC is reported to have offered a discount of 40% for the youths and free forms for women and people with disabilities, this will not assuage the feelings of interested youths who want to run for office under the party’s platform. Even with the 40% discount, it is still N60 million for Presidential nomination forms which is not affordable by the youths.
NOT-SO- GOOD EXAMPLE FROM THE APC
It was expected that the ruling party, the APC will set good examples for other so-called ‘smaller’ parties to follow. But this doesn’t appear to be the case as the smaller political parties are following the footsteps of the APC and fixing outrageous sums for nomination forms. The average cost of a presidential nomination form for almost of the ‘breezing’ political parties is about N35 million because the other parties have seen the sky-high standard set by the APC.
In the chronology of sky-rocketing price of nomination forms set by the APC, it can be seen that the party has increased the cost of its forms by about 100% at every election on a 4- year cycle as follows (including the future projected price tags):
2015 – N25 Million
2019 – N45 Million
2023- N100 Million
2027- N200 Million
2031- N300 Million
2035- N500 Million
2039- N1 Billion
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE MONEY REALISED FROM SALE OF NOMINATION FORMS?
The NEC of the political parties, the APC inclusive, always claim that they will use the cash realised from the sale of nomination forms to do what they call ‘reposition the party’ including renovation of party offices, paying staff salary etc but this never happened.
Normally and usually, monies realised from the sale of party nomination forms are diverted into private pockets. These monies are always not accounted for.
Within a week of the end of sale, one cannot find even a penny in the APC’s bank account from the sale of nomination forms. The account stays red as all the cash has been shared amongst the party EXCOS and other ‘major stakeholders’ of the Party. The party will come back to complain that they cannot pay NEPA bills at the national headquarters.
This is even more worrisome when juxtaposed with the fact that a nomination form sold at N100 million will normally require a budget of N130 million because no form is released without the usual ‘administrative charges’ which the national secretariat collects from aspirants. These administrative charges are usually referred to as ‘something for the boys’.
No aspirant will collect the form after payment without dropping the ‘administrative charges for the boys’ which is usually about 25 % – 30% of the cost of nomination forms. Now add that to the cost of campaign and you will come to the conclusion that politics in Nigeria is more monetised than a house-for-sale.
INEC SHOULD REGULATE THE COST OF NOMINATION FORMS FOR POLITICAL PARTIES.
The regulator of political parties and political activities in the country, the independent national electoral commission (INEC) should regulate the sale of nomination forms and ensure that the cost of a party nomination form for Presidential election is not more than N5 million.
Thereafter, the political party can separate the ‘wheat from the chaff’ and ‘men from the boys’ through screening of candidates based on its constitution.
A political party reserves the powers to screen out any candidate that it feels cannot win the election on its behalf but not to deny interested aspirants the chance to contest elections by fixing outrageous costs for nomination forms. This is a primary school method and will not help any efforts to birth the right leaders for Nigeria.
Section 91 (2-7) of the electoral act 2010 (as altered) has given INEC unfettered powers to regulate the spending by political parties including the cost of nomination forms and campaigns. There is no provision in the electoral act 2010 or any other law known to the public that allows any political party to extort ridiculous amount of money from unsuspecting aspirants under the guise of ‘sale of nominations forms’.
Even the cost of the entire Presidentisl campaign should not be more than N1,000,000,000 as stated in section 91(2) of the electoral act 2010 (as altered).
POSSIBILITIES OF RESENTMENT FROM THE YOUTH
The N100 million Presidential nomination form fee has so demoralised the youths that most of them who are APC members are thinking of decamping to other parties.
Most of them are of the view that since the APC doesn’t support the youth, they have no business being in the APC. It will be a political suicide for the APC to let go of the youths from its fold. The youths and young people constitute about 70% of the voting population and no political party particularly our great APC can do without the great Nigerian youths.
THE EFCC SHOULD INVESTIGATE THE SOURCE OF WEALTH OF ANYONE WHO BUYS THE APC N100 MILLION PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION FORM.
Purchasing the nomination form for N100 million will raise not only dust but also doubt about the source of wealth of the aspirant.
Albeit, some aspirants have now devised a method of buying the form through proxies. These aspirants now claim that their friends bought the form and gave to them as donation when in essence they (the aspirants) are the ones that provided the funds for the back-door purchase of forms including ‘fuel money’ for the so-called ‘friends’
In this regard, the economic and financial crimes commission (EFCC) should use its internal measures within the ambit of the law to investigate how a current or former public servant could raise N100 million to purchase a Presidential nomination form just like that.
Yes, the cost of the APC Presidential nomination form is outrageous and targeted at stopping Nigerian youths from running for office but the great Nigerian youths and young generation are undeterred.
- We will continue to fight for a new Nigeria within the ambit of the law and other laid down procedures.
We will never be daunted.
We will stand and stay firm
We will remain committed and passionate about Nigeria
We will stay the cause
We will continue to contest in every election and run for office until a NEW NIGERIA is actualised.
Without doubt, it is only a matter of WHEN not IF before the great Nigerian youths take over power at the centre and a young, vibrant, energetic and committed Nigerian becomes the President of the federal republic of Nigeria.
DR ABUBAKAR ALKALI
Convener, Movement for a New Nigeria (MNN)