Various reactions have trailed Wednesday’s decision by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to sell its nomination forms for sums considered too high.
For the presidential contest, nomination and expression of interest forms go for N100 million, while forms for the governorship race sell for N50m.
Senatorial cadre’s sells for N20m, House of Reps’ N20m, and state House of Assembly’s, N2m.
But most Nigerians in their reactions, say they have seen through the smokescreen that the ruling party is conditioned to sell Nigeria’s political offices to the highest bidders, at the expense of competence, credibility and reasonable income earning.
However, others differ, hailing the humongous presidential and governorship forms’ costs, saying it would deter unserious candidates from crowding the stage.
Reacting, a presidential aspirant on the APC platform, Adamu Garba, said he was shell shocked at the N100m cost of expression of interest and nomination forms for aspirants.
Reacting via his Twitter handle, Garba, who also aspired to be president in 2019, wrote, “100m for the form. WOW!”
He stated, “If we don’t come together and use our collective power to save this country from the strangulation of the moneybags, we are doing a great disservice to our generation and that of the future.
”We cannot continue to buy political offices in Nigeria, we need competent leaders come 2023.”
While a few commentators poked Adamu that if he did not have money to contest, he should retreat indoors, others shared his position, stating that the heavy sums to procure APC forms would prevent youths and disadvantaged groups from running for offices.
Reacting too, former media aide to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Reno Omokri, wondered, “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 Dariye and Nyame, so they can sponsor forms?”
Commenting as well, a 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 form for N100m. Shame on him.”
Gold Isaiah, yet a commentator, tweeted, “The APC presidential nomination is pegged at N100m. I’m not surprised because all the money they have been borrowing is in their personal accounts. Highly corrupt regime!”
In the same vein, one Uche Jegbefume reacted: “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 similarly 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.”
But the Director-General of the Voice of Nigeria and founding member of the APC, Osita Okechukwu, differed, stating that the high cost of the forms would naturally weed out unserious contestants.
Unveiling for the APC, the contest rates at the end of the emergency NEC meeting of the party in Abuja on Wednesday, it’s publicity secretary, Mr. Felix Morka, however, said women were only entitled to free nomination forms but would pay for their expression of interest forms at every level.
He revealed that youths, whom he classified as persons 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.
Morka added, “Now please note, and this is very important, that female aspirants and persons with disability 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 youth also got some very special consideration out of this meeting. And our youth are considered persons between the ages of 25 to 40. To purchase the expression of interest forms but with a discount of 50 per cent. On the nomination forms now, as usual, all of the payments are to be made to banks that will be designated by the party and published in a very short while from now,
As for the schedule of activities from form sales up until the primaries, the publicity secretary said the presidential primary would hold from May 30 to May 31.
“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.
Morka added 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).
“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 primaries is bid to hold between Monday, May 30, to Wednesday, June 1, 2022,” he stressed.
Curiously, however, the APC was silent on its zoning formula, especially on its preferred region for its presidential contestants.