- The cost of political aspirants' nomination forms has been a serious debate over the past few months leading to the primaries
- Political enthusiasts and pundits have vehemently criticized and labeled it as criminal and misplacement of priorities
- Even civil society groups have stated that it is am attempt to auction the leadership of the country as it does reflect the realities of the country
Nigerians at different quarters have expressed worries that despite the tough economic situation in the country, politicians are throwing N100 million into the coffers of political parties, not minding whether they are winning the primaries or not.
An estimated figure by THISDAY revealed that the All Progressives Congress (APC) may realize nothing less than N30 billion from the sale of its Nomination and Expression of Interest forms.
An analyst who preferred not to be mentioned told the newspaper that the APC may have the advantage ahead of others due to the rush for its forms.
PDP stalwart speaks
But Legit.ng gathered that members of the Peoples Democratic Party are being careful, knowing that at the end of it, only a few people can actually slug it out in the party because they may fall back to a consensus arrangement at the end.
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The party stalwart who does not want his name in print argued thus:
“It’s not as if we don’t have members with such an amount to purchase as many forms as APC. We are only being conservative, knowing that we may have to settle for the best candidate that will challenge the APC at the poll.”
Fearing that the APC is still a party to reckon with, he said:
“You know that it’s not easy to just defeat the party holding the power, so we don’t need everybody to buy the party’s forms. We won’t show our muscles by the amount we rake in through the sales of our forms. What I think we should and we are doing is scouting for the best hands that can defeat APC in 2023.
“This is not to say that people are not free to exercise their rights to contest. We can only advise them in order to have a formidable front against a party that has killed all aspects of the nation,”
Miyetti Allah obtains form for Goodluck Jonathan
On Monday, a northern group, Miyetti Allah allegedly obtained the expression of interest and nomination forms for former president, Goodluck Jonathan. Also, a group of Northern Solidarity Group for Timipre Sylva has secured the nomination and expression of interest forms for the minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva.
This new addition has further raised the huge number of aspirants who have already purchased the APC forms ahead of the 2023 elections.
Other APC members in 2023 race
Others who have indicated interest or purchased the forms already are: Vice president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Muhammed Abubakar of Jigawa State, Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State, Senator Rochas Okorocha, and former Senate President Ken Nnamani.
Others are Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige; Minister of Science and Technology, Dr, Ogbonnaya Onu; Minister of Niger Delta, Senator Godswill Akpabio; Senate President, Dr. Ahmed Lawan; Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba; Gbenga Olawepo; Ihechukwu Dallas; Chima Usman; Tein Jack Rich; and Pastor Tunde Bakare
Also in the race are: Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State, Adams Oshiohmole; Ogun’s Ibikunle Amosun and Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, Minister of Transport.
PDP careful about ‘mad rush’ for forms
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic party have so far screened 17 contestants for the top job. Top on the list of contestants are former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, former Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi, former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal and a host of others.
Friends, groups purchasing forms for all candidates
Legit.ng has observed that almost all the contestants purchasing the Nomination and Expression of Interests forms have claimed that friends, colleagues or associates bought the forms for them.
But Nigerian entertainer and social crusader, Charlyboy told Legit.ng exclusively that the rush for the presidential forms was a joke taken too far. Wondering where the ‘mysterious’ money is coming from, the AreaFada said:
“It’s all gimmicks. This is their business and all those claiming the forms were bought for them had planned for it. They are using the forms as bargaining tools. They all know they are going nowhere. Suddenly, the country that had no money; a country with so much pain and poverty everywhere; its politicians are paying N100 million as if they are paying N100 Naira. Can’t you see the game they are trying to play?
“Each time I talk, I remember the youths. They have a big job ahead of them. They must try to change the narrative, else the effect of this mysterious money will kill their future. And I tell you, the worse ever seen before will hit us after the next election. We have not seen poverty yet."
Rights activist, Onwubiko reacts
Also, in an exclusive chat with Legit.ng, Rights activist, Emmanuel Onwubiko alleged that the money invested in the Nomination and Expression of Interest forms were recycled looted money.
The coordinator of the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, alleged that politicians have found a way of investing looted money in their various political parties.
Wondering how they got the mysterious money, Onwubiko said:
“N100 million is not N thousand, but you can see how they spending the money as if all is well with the country. ASUU has been on strike, and the government has no money to attend to their demands. But each politician is able to part with N100 million to purchase forms for their presidential ambition. The injustice done to the Nigerian people is huge.”
HURIWA went further to question the whereabouts of the recovered Abacha’s loot and other loots. He alleged they are now being invested in the purchase of forms instead of investing the loots in the lives of Nigerians.
He lamented the poor state of things in the country despite the nation’s wealth.
But majority of politicians in the contest for the 2023 election have disclosed to the Nigerian public that the money used in the purchase of the forms were contributions from friends, colleagues, and groups.
Group buys form for Minister of State Education, Nwajiuba
Recall that Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, minister of state for education, has also obtained the APC Nomination and Expression of Interest forms amid lecturers’ strike.
But the minister, according to report did not buy the forms by himself. A support group, known as Project Nigeria, has claimed responsibility for the purchase of the forms.
What do Nigerians believe about N100 Million forms
Most Nigerians believe that politicians claiming that friends, allies, or groups purchased their forms are saying so politically. They believe that in the true sense of it, those politicians paid for the forms.
According to Mr. Alex Allen, a businessman:
“It’s politics. They are just trying to avoid probing and other things. So it’s what they tell Nigerians that they want them to believe. We all agree with them. Let them keep wasting our money or investing in their parties. These are contributions from the various ministries to strengthen their party’s campaign. The money is not mysterious to me.”
As the argument on how these monies are sourced continues, it’s yet to be uncovered how politicians raised money for the forms.
Despite the various claims, amount contributed by individuals in support of aspirants forms has never been divulged. The names of the individuals making the contributions are yet unknown.