Presidential primary: APC silent on zoning, Nigerians condemn N100m nomination fee


...say it’ll encourage corruption

The All Progressives Congress says it will begin its sale of presidential, governorship, national and state assembly forms on Saturday.

The APC, which revealed this after its 11th National Executive Committee meeting in Abuja on Wednesday, failed to disclose if it would be zoning its presidential ticket or not thereby leaving its forms open for all to buy.

However, its high nomination fees for aspirants generated angry reactions among Nigerians, with many of them saying they were symptomatic of the corrupt APC government.

The APC pegged its expression of interest and nomination forms for the presidential ticket at N100m.

The party’s National Publicity Secretary, Felix Morka, disclosed this shortly after the 11th NEC meeting of the APC.

According to Morka, the presidential nomination form would be sold for N70m while expression of interest forms would go for N30m.

He revealed that the House of Assembly expression of interest forms would go for N500,000 while the nomination form goes for N1.5m.

The nomination form for the House of Representatives would sell for N9m while the expression of interest form goes for N1m, making N10m in total.

Senatorial aspirants will purchase their expression of interest forms at N3m each and nomination forms at N17m each, making it N20m in total.

Governorship aspirants will have to part with N10m for the expression of interest forms and N40m for the nomination forms, making N50m in total.

The National Women Leader of the APC, Betta Edu, had said women would get free forms.

However, Morka said women were only entitled to free nomination forms but would pay for their expression of interest forms at every level.

He revealed that the youths, whom he defined as individuals at the age of 40 and below, would purchase the expression of interest forms with a 40 per cent discount on the nomination form fees for each position.

“Now please note, and this is very important, that female aspirants and persons with disabilities will purchase our expression of interest forms for all the positions that they may be interested in while the nomination forms will be free without any costs to them.

“Now, our youths also got some very special consideration out of this meeting. And our youths are considered persons between the ages of 25 and 40. To purchase the expression of interest forms but with a discount of 50 per cent. On the nomination forms now, as usual, all the payments are to be made to banks that will be designated by the party and published in a very short while from now,” Morka revealed.

On the schedule of activities from form sales up until the primaries, Morka said the presidential primary election would hold from May 30 to May 31. This, therefore, allays fears that the party’s presidential primary will clash with that of the main opposition, the Peoples Democratic Party, whose primary has been slated for May 28 and May 29.

“The first item on our schedule is the notice of election that will be issued to the state chapters of our party. That activity will be carried out on April 22, 2022. The second item, the sale of forms at the APC national secretariat,  will commence on Saturday, April 23 to Friday, May 6, 2022. And the last day for the submission of completed forms and accompanying documents will be Tuesday, May 10, 2022.

“Screening of aspirants for the House of Assembly and for the governorship aspirants will be conducted on Thursday, May 12, 2022. Screening for aspirants to the House of Representatives and the Senate will be carried out on Friday, May 10, 2022. And for the presidential aspirants, that will come on Saturday, May 14, 2022.

“The publication of screening results will be done for the state assemblies and the governorship on Friday, May 13, 2022. For the House of Representatives and the Senate, it will be on Saturday, May 14, 2022. For the presidential aspirants, the publication of screening results will be on Sunday, May 15, 2022,” he said.

The party spokesman noted that screening appeals for the various offices would happen as follows: State assembly and governorship (Saturday, May 14 2022), House of Representatives and Senate (Tuesday, May 17, 2022), and presidential (Monday, May 23, 2022).

Morka continued “We will have our primaries for governorship on Wednesday, May 18, 2022. The primaries for the state House of Assembly will hold on Friday, May 28, 2022. The House of Representatives will hold on Sunday, May 22, 2022. For the Senate,  that has been scheduled to hold on Tuesday, May 24, 2022.

“Our special convention for presidential primary is billed to hold between Monday, May 30, and Wednesday, June 1, 2022.”

He noted that the National Executive Committee had devolved its powers to the National Working Committee for the next 90 days, giving the National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, full powers over the primaries.

For the said period, the NWC would have the power to exercise the authority that was constitutionally assigned to the NEC on behalf of the party.

Morka explained, “The resolution has devolved the powers of NEC under Article 13(2)(3)(4)(5)(6) of our Constitution. But those powers of NEC in those provisions are now vested in the National Working Committee of the party. So in other words, the NWC of the party is authorised for 90 days to exercise the authority that is constitutionally assigned to the NEC on behalf of the party.”

However, like the PDP, the APC said nothing about the zoning of its Presidential ticket.

Nigerians condemn high cost of forms

But the high cost of forms was condemned by many Nigerians on social media including members of the ruling party.

They argued that it would prevent youths and disadvantaged groups from running for office.

A former media aide to ex-President, Goodluck Jonathan, Reno Omokri, asked, “How can the APC set presidential nomination forms at N100m? Is that not encouraging corruption? Who, but the corrupt, can afford that? Is that why they pardoned (Joshua) Dariye and (Rev Jolly) Nyame, so they can sponsor forms?”

In his contribution, journalist, Adejumo Kabir, tweeted, “Buhari criticised the N27.5m levy for the presidential nomination form in 2014, describing it as exorbitant. Today, he leads a party selling a form for N100m. Shame on him.”

Gold Isaiah tweeted, “The APC presidential nomination form is pegged at N100m. I’m not surprised because all the money they have been borrowing is in their personal accounts. Highly corrupt regime!”

Uche Jegbefume tweeted, “N100m for presidential nomination form means absolutely nothing to the fantastically corrupt people in the APC. Only the electorate and masses are perpetually poor for their political gains.”

Abubakar Mona Usman tweeted, “N100m for APC presidential nomination form? This tells you how corrupt, wicked, and inhuman the government of the day is. May God save us in 2023.”

However, the Director-General of the Voice of Nigeria and founding member of the party, Osita Okechukwu, justified the high cost of forms, saying it would deter unserious aspirants.

Speaking in a phone interview with The PUNCH on Wednesday, Okechukwu also noted that the high fees were a result of a decision by Buhari who insisted that the party must fund itself.

Don’t repeat PDP’s mistakes, Buhari warns

Meanwhile, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), Wednesday in Abuja, warned the new NWC of the APC against repeating the mistakes of the PDP that led to its ouster in the 2015 presidential election.

This is as he said the NWC members had no time for infighting as the country approaches 2023.

Buhari spoke at a meeting of the NEC of the APC meeting which held in Abuja.

Urging party members to be more mindful of the pitfalls of the PDP in 2015, the President said, “The PDP thought that only time could remove them, and the time actually came. They thought it was impossible to lose elections.

“We put together a committee with clear terms of reference on how to remove the PDP from power. The PDP thought it wasn’t going to be possible. But it happened.”

He told new members of the NWC, which had been delegated powers of NEC for 90 days, to work towards keeping the party together by creating more room for discussions.

“There’s no time to develop differences among ourselves. We have no time for that,’’ he noted.

Buhari also advised party leaders against imposing unpopular candidates on the APC.

He said, “I enjoin you all to follow due process in all the party processes and more importantly to develop more mechanisms against corruption. I call on all party members to abide by all extant laws, rules, and regulations and to leaders of our party to avoid the imposition of candidates that cannot win popular elections.

“This dictatorial behaviour cost us many strategic seats in the past. I must caution strongly against any tendency towards developing cliques, infighting within the party. We want to win well, not succumb to factions on account of personal acerbities and desire to retain control at all costs,” he said.

Govs remain leaders in states, Adamu warns factions

In his remarks, the APC National Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, appreciated the President for always working for the unity and survival of the party, assuring him that the NWC would further unite the party, and ensure victory at the polls.

Adamu also lamented that the leadership tussle between sitting and former governors was creating turbulence in the party.

Noting that governors were leaders of the party in their various states, the chairman said the APC constitution takes precedence over individual inclinations.

“I was the chairman of the reconciliation committee and came out of the assignment fully conversant with the problems. The battle really is a battle for supremacy between serving governors and their predecessors. It is a crisis fuelled by ego. Ego between former and serving governors has turned them into bitter enemies. Because of ego, the two groups are putting our party in jeopardy and the effect will be in the polls next year.

“The serving governors and past governors are powerful men, all of them are leaders in their own right in their states but when two elephants fight, the grass suffers. Similarly, when two powerful politicians fight, the party suffers because the speech and actions of these powerful men will bring a filthy and odious stench to our party.

“It is important that the former governors recognise that the party structure must be respected. Our party’s constitution makes no room for two party leaders in a state. There is no reason to compete with serving governors for the leadership of the party.”

APC may adopt indirect primary – Bagudu

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum, Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi State, has said the party may adopt an indirect mode of primary election next month.

Fielding questions from journalists shortly after the NEC meeting, the governor said although the primary was not discussed at the meeting, other parameters indicated the adoption of an indirect mode.

“There was no explicit discussion about the mode of primary. But the timetable seems to suggest that it is indirect primary,” he said.

Phone calls made to the National Publicity Secretary of the APC went unanswered as text messages sent to him were not replied to.

But in an interview on Channels TV’s Politics on Wednesday, Morka said, “The APC has not decided on the mode of primary. As a matter of fact, such discussion was not on the agenda at the NEC meeting held earlier today. In the next couple of days, the party will make its position known on the zoning formula and mode of primary.”

The NEC meeting was attended by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, and other principal officers of the National Assembly,  APC governors and state party chairmen.

Ohanaeze, PANDEF fume over silence on zoning, warn APC

Reacting to the APC’s silence on zoning, the spokesman for the apex  Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Alex Ogbonnia, in an interview with The PUNCH, described it as golden, adding, “It is either it is the South-East or they will create more problems in Nigeria”.

On his part, the Pan Niger Delta Forum spokesman, Ken Robinson, called on all political parties to zone the presidency to the South in the interest of peace, unity and progress of the country.

“It could be taken for granted that the ruling party, the APC, has silently zoned its presidential ticket to the South.”

Also, Mr Sola Ebiseni,  the Secretary General of the Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, on his part,  condemned the high price for the sale of the nomination form for presidential aspirants of the APC saying it would further pave the way for corruption to continue thriving in the country. (Punch)

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