- Some aspirants of the APC have expressed fear and serious concern over a withdrawal letter they are to sign when submitting their nomination form
- For some of the hopefuls, the letter tagged Form 18 is a trap of the ruling party to force them into a consensus option before the primaries
- However, the leadership of the party has explained that aspirants have no reason to fear as the APC has not decided on what means it will use in choosing its candidates
The ‘Letter of Withdrawal’ attached to the All Progressives Congress (APC)'s expression of interest and nomination forms for aspirants to fill and submit along with other forms and credentials is generating controversy in the party.
Checks by The Guardian reveal that the said withdrawal letter is addressed to Abdulahi Adamu, the national chairman of the APC, and should be signed by a commissioner of oath/public notary before submission.
The letter which is tagged Form 18 reads:
“I hereby voluntarily withdraw my candidacy from the contest. My withdrawal is in the best interest of our great party, the All Progressives Congress.”
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The online newspaper gathered that a lot of aspirants are very sceptical about the letter and perceive it as a trap to corner them into forcefully accepting what might turn out as a consensus deal before the scheduled primaries.
While some presidential hopefuls have approached their lawyers for interpretation and implications before signing the letter, another aspirant has vowed not to sign the form, adding that he will exclude it from other documents to be submitted.
Legal practitioners advise aspirants
On his part, a legal practitioner, Patrick Gongou, advised aspirants to apply caution before signing the form, which according to him, could come with serious consequences.
“This is an attempt to box them into a corner. A political party cannot approbate and reprobate."
However, another lawyer, Barrister Abubakar Sani, opined that the intention of the withdrawal letter may not be as bad as politicians fear.
He added that the form must be put to the test in a bid to see if it either contravenes the APC constitution, the 2022 Electoral Act, or the 1999 constitution.
“We should not be sentimental about it, a political party is a voluntary association, which you can join or leave at your own volition but it is good to test the withdrawal letter to know if it violates any constitution.”
Added to this, APC's national secretary, Senator Iyiola Omisore, said filling the controversial form is optional as the party has not decided on which option to use in choosing its candidates.
2023: APC’s indecision on zoning sparks outrage across Nigeria
Meanwhile, condemnations had trailed the claim by the APC on Friday, April 29, that it had not decided on where to zone its presidential ticket for the 2023 elections.
Adamu, who spoke on the controversial zoning issue, said the party had not taken any zoning decision.
He said such a decision would be the job of the entire party, which he noted was bigger than himself as chairman.