APC aspirants kick, threaten mass defections over high cost of forms

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APC aspirants kick, threaten mass defections over high cost of forms

Aspirants on the platform of the All Progressives Congress are poised for a showdown with the party leadership over the cost of nomination and expression of interest forms.

SUNDAY PUNCH gathered in Abuja on Saturday that aspirants, seeking the party’s nomination to contest the governorship, national and state assemblies seats were on  a collision course with the party leadership.

They were said to have demanded a downward review of the fees.

The APC’s National Working Committee had proposed N55m as the cost of the nomination and expression of interest forms for the office of President, which is way higher than the N12m being charged by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party.

Those seeking the party’s nod to contest the state houses of assembly elections are asked to be prepared to part with N1.1m as against PDP’s N600,000, while for the House of Representatives, APC aspirants should are asked to pay N3.8m. The PDP is asking its aspirants to pay 1.5m to contest the tickets.

For the Senate, APC aspirants will pay N8.5m as against the N3.5m the PDP is asking from its aspirants for the same position.

Governorship aspirants of the ruling party are asked to pay N22.5m each to contest the ticket as against the N6m to be paid by their counterparts in the PDP.

A member of the party’s NEC, who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution, said the party leadership would stick to “its guns” as regards the fees.

He told SUNDAY PUNCH, “As a party, we want people who have capacity and what we are asking for is reasonable in the circumstance. Even Mr. President (Muhammadu Buhari) expressed his reservations about the cost of the forms.

“A party member reminded him that his nomination forms were paid for by his teeming supporters across the country. He was also told that his support base has increased considerably.

“Our (national) chairman even jokingly told the President that the party was prepared to give him a discount if he asks for it and we all joked about it.”

An aspirant to the House of Representatives, who spoke on condition of anonymity so as not to jeopardise ongoing negotiations, said, “We will be meeting either tomorrow (Sunday) or Monday to prepare a template on the way forward.

“We will give the party the choice of either reviewing the costs downwards or be prepared for mass defections which will certainly follow.”

Kaka seeks reduction in fees

When contacted, a governorship aspirant in Ogun State, Senator Adegbenga Kaka, urged the NWC of the APC to review downward the fee payable for the governorship nomination form.

He noted that as a progressive political party, the elective positions should not be for politicians with deep pockets.

He said,  “As a progressive party, the APC should not deprive those who have something meaningful to contribute to the party and the society at large.”

Party executive should look into it — Aspirant

A House of Representatives aspirant in Osun State, Mr Olalekan Badmus,  described the nomination fee as too expensive.

He said he was confident that the party would review it downward.

Badmus said, “It is  outrageous when compared to the PDP’s fees for the House of Representative which is  N1.5m. The PDP did that with the intention of encouraging the younger politicians.”

We have not received any formal complaint –Party

When contacted, the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Yekini Nabena, said the party had yet to receive any formal complaint from any of its members or aspirants.

He also explained that what the NWC presented before NEC was a proposal which was being considered.

Nabena stated, “To the best of my knowledge, the party has not received any complain from any of our aspirants.

“I know that what we have are proposals being considered and NEC gave that responsibility to the NWC.” Source: Punch

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