By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
LAGOS—Three All Progressives Congress, APC, presidential aspirants, yesterday, threatened to organise a parallel national convention on the claim that the N45 million nomination forms were illegal and against the provisions of the Electoral Law.
The three aspirants, Dr. SKC Ogbonnia, Chief Charles Udeogaranya and Alhaji Mumakai Unagha, while demanding the scrapping of the nomination forms also urged President Muhammadu Buhari in the light of his anti-corruption crusade to join them in rejecting the amount fixed for the forms as he had confessed that he could not afford them.
The three aspirants said the failure of the party to heed their demand would compel them to organise their primary in accordance with extant electoral laws of the country.
Responding, yesterday, APC said the nomination form was fixed upon multiple considerations, including the need to use the proceeds to organise direct primaries.
Speaking at a press conference in Lagos, yesterday, the aspirants in a joint declaration said: “We demand that President Muhammadu Buhari should reject the N45 million nomination forms purchased for him by a group.”
In making the call, the group said fixing the forms at N45 million directly violated the provisions of the Electoral Act, which sets limits on the amount that a group or individual can donate to a presidential candidate.
The aspirants also said it ran against the anti-corruption crusade of the administration.
“Though some aspirants can afford the exorbitant cost of the forms, such amount is clearly not affordable to many others, including President Buhari and particularly the youths and women of our great party, APC.”
“We demand that the party (APC) should, without further delay, scrap nomination fees as it is inconsistent with the law of the land.”
“Failure to adhere to the aforementioned demands will give us no other option than to conduct our own primaries in line with extant electoral laws and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Responding yesterday, the party spokesman, Yekini Nabena, said the National Working Committee, NWC, decided on the N45 million after much consideration of the circumstances facing Nigerians and the party.
According to him, the original proposal was even higher but that the NWC out of consideration of the economic realities on the ground, decided to bring down the amount to N45 million.
“The party does not want to antagonise anybody, and the amount is out of consideration of the circumstances facing the party.
‘’In fact, it would have been more than that, but it was brought down out of consideration of the economic situation on the ground.
“The party is expected to use the proceeds from the forms to organise the direct primaries,” the party spokesman said.
The Presidency kept mum on the issue, saying it would not comment on the issue.