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More complaints trail APC’s ‘costly’ tickets

By Azimazi Momoh Jimoh, Adamu Abuh, Ernest Nzor (Abuja), Ahmad Muhammad (Kano), Rotimi Agboluaje (Ibadan) and Anietie Akpan (Calabar)
22 April 2022   |   2:59 am
News on Wednesday of the cost of All Progressives Congress (APC) nomination forms triggered condemnation. But while some party faithful has continued to mourn the development

News on Wednesday of the cost of All Progressives Congress (APC) nomination forms triggered condemnation. But while some party faithful has continued to mourn the development, others appeared anxious to generate the funds.

The party announced its presidential ticket would be sold for N100 million, governorship (N50 million), Senate (N20 million), House of Representatives (N10 million) and State Houses of Assembly (N2 million).

But two businessmen from Igbere, Bende Local Council of Abia State, offered to pay N200 million for Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, and Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu, to contest the presidency.

The men, Ukaegbu James and Nnanna Kalu, made the announcement in Abuja, yesterday.

“If we must get it right in 2023, we need result-oriented leaders like Kalu and Lawan to succeed Buhari. It is time to present our best hands because there won’t be any room for writing fake results. We are ready to make N200 million available by the weekend to purchase their nomination forms,” they said.

Also, members of The Progressive Project (TPP) expressed readiness to purchase the form for Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

TPP’s chairman, Senator Kabiru Gaya, told reporters in Abuja that the gesture speaks volumes about the depth of acceptability of Osinbajo among Nigerians.

He explained: “Even an internal issue of the price of our party’s nomination form is being deliberately misinterpreted in some circles. We feel confident that, unlike moneybags, our truly populist candidate is popular enough to pool supporters’ token donations and raise such money with ease.

“Just one youth group with TPP says it can raise N100 million, with voluntary contributions of N10,000, each, by 10,000 supporters who are keen about a better future.”

Some youths in the South West region also urged former Ogun State governor and Senator representing Ogun Central at the National Assembly, Ibikunle Amosun, to contest the presidency, promising to buy him a form.

The youth, under the auspices of South West Youth Agenda, said they would contribute funds to purchase Amosun’s form if he decides to contest.

They stated this while addressing journalists at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Secretariat in Ibadan, Oyo State.

The group’s coordinator, Olujimi Bamgboye, flanked by Ayodeji Rabiu (secretary) and Adeola Adelakun (treasure), noted said the support for Amosun is hinged on his giant strides in tackling insecurity in Ogun State when he was governor between 2011 and 2019.

HOWEVER, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) national chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, condemned what he called the ‘overpricing’ of APC nomination forms.

He described it as insensitivity to the plight of the people, especially members of the party, wondering where APC expected aspirants to get the money.

According to him, “The pegging of her nomination forms at N100 million, N50 million, N20 million etc., casts APC in the image of rogues and hypocrites.”

He expressed shock that President Muhammadu Buhari, who said he borrowed N27 million to purchase a form in 2014, could approve N100 million for the same.

This was as New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) described the cost as unfair, unjust, despicable and insensitive to the plight of Nigerians who have been impoverished by the outgoing government.

NNPP said in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, said: “APC is out to rip off its aspirants, sell its tickets to the highest bidder, encourage godfatherism and shut out patriotic and resourceful aspirants, particularly women, youth and those with a disability, and continue its infamous recycling of retired, tired and docile party stalwarts with no agenda for a better Nigeria.”

AN APC presidential aspirant, Comrade Salihu Othman Isah, kicked against the cost, saying only persons with stolen money could purchase the form; persons who also would see procurement as an investment they must recoup while in office.

“It is sad that this is happening under the watch of Buhari. It is disheartening that he will allow APC buccaneers to have their way. The cost is bound to limit the options available because most of those passionate and committed to leading the country cannot afford the cost,” he said.

Also, APC presidential aspirant and leader of the Middlebelt Presidency agitations, Moses Ayom, called for a reduction of the fee, even as he urged the party’s National Working Committee to reject the temptation of embracing “commercial democracy.

He noted: “With the fee, it is obvious that only money bags would aspire while other potential good leaders are blocked. How do we reconcile the President’s directive that APC’s ticket should not be handed over to the highest bidder, and then, on the other hand, NWC has fixed the forms only for the highest bidder? There is something wrong somewhere.”

BUT two APC chieftains, Messrs Clement Ebri and Osita Okechukwu, disagreed over the party’s decision to peg its presidential nomination and expression of interest forms at N100 million.

Ebri, who governed Cross River State in the botched Third Republic, argued that the danger is: that many prospective and qualified office seekers that do not possess enormous personal wealth will be excluded from seeking the nomination, regardless of the depth and breadth of their popular support.

But Okechukwu said the fee is to maintain Mr. President’s axiom not to fund APC from public coffers.

Okechukwu, who is the director-general of Voice of Nigeria (VON), argued that Buhari expects candidates to mobilise nomination fees from their supporters, as he did during his four-time bid for office.

On its part, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) told the national hierarchy of APC to cover its face in shame for trying to justify the cost of the form.

It said in a statement: “APC must be made up of leaders that have lost touch with reality and are bent on selling their presidential ticket to the highest bidder, no matter the roguish or criminal way the person may have raised the exorbitant cost.”