April 20, 2022

Who can legally afford APC’s N100m presidential forms, CISLAC queries

…accuses APC of endorsing, institutionalizing godfatherism

…says price tags on forms exclude youth, women from internal democracy

By Gabriel Ewepu

ABUJA-THE Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC, Wednesday, queried the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, ‘Who can legally afford APC’s N100 million presidential forms of Nomination and Expression of Interest?

CISLAC expressed dismay over fees placed on the various forms of Nomination and Interest, pointing that this will give way to corrupt politicians and money-bags to hijack the electoral process as they will dictate the tune for those they will sponsor to purchase the forms at exorbitant amounts as announced by the party.

The Executive Director of CISLAC and Chairman Transition Monitoring Group, TMG, Auwal Ibrahim Rafsanjani, in a statement issued and made available to Vanguard, described the fees as shameful.

According to Rafsanjani, “It was unbelievable for a ruling party that the President belongs to, has endorsed the expression of interest and nomination forms for its presidential ticket at N100m.

“This is especially at a time when many have expressed dissatisfaction with the level of youth participation in partisan politics and called for deliberate measures to create the enabling environment for wider inclusion and active participation of women and youth in politics and governance of the country.

“A key question to ask is, “Who can legally afford N100 million for a Presidential ambition?” This despicable decision by the APC begs this question as it only serves within the following contexts to: Marginalize youths, women and average citizens; Despite claims of a 50% reduction in nomination and expression of interest fees, the new Presidential nomination fees at (from N100 million to N50 million) remains clearly higher than the 2019 Presidential aspirant fee which was N45 million (N40 million for nomination form and N5 million for expression of interest form).

“This will apparently exclude the youth, women and average Nigerians who have clamoured to improve opportunities to exercise their rights to declare their interests and contest in the elections.

“The current total fee is N5 million higher than it was 3 years ago when inflation was significantly lower and the common man had a better spending power.

“It has been well established that money politics has served the purposes of consolidating elite rule as well as the political exclusion of the less financially stable and marginalized groups.

“The 1999 Constitution by omission or commission placed an age barrier by disqualifying persons below the ages of 40 and 30 from contesting for the offices of the President, and membership for House of Representatives and Assembly, respectively.

He added that, “Today’s decision by the ruling party however makes a mockery of the efforts of all the stakeholders and general public that campaigned vigorously to secure the signing of the Not Too Young To Run bill into law by President Muhammadu Buhari on May 31, 2018.

“It once again re-emphasizes the lack of sincerity of purpose and political inconsistencies that have plagued this administration’s decisions/commitments to any cause or agenda.”

The CISLAC boss also lamented and accused the ruling party of officially endorsing and institutionalizing godfatherism.

“Why the APC has now chosen to be the instrument through which godfatherism has been officially institutionalised in the electoral process is baffling, especially at a time that they are battling to redeem what little trust the public has in them, is worrisome.

“There are numerous instances in the past, of godfather-backed politicians who have had to defer to their political godfathers for matters such as appointment of commissioners, appointment into the board of statutory corporations, etc. or have essentially handed-over the functions of their offices to their political benefactors to the detriment of their mandates and electorates.

“This alliance has been behind the characteristic electoral corruption and violence in Nigeria as Godfathers deploy enormous resources in a bid to corrupt electoral officials and the electorate and where these fail, violence will be deployed to bring about the desired result. It fuels apathy and the few electorates who turn out to vote mostly do so to benefit from the largesse at the polling units”, he added.