• Thursday, July 25, 2024
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#NotTooYoungToRun: Youths say APC N100m form ‘sickening’

#NotTooYoungToRun: Youths say APC N100m form ‘sickening’

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has come under fire for fixing the cost of its presidential form at N100 million, with youths and other commentators saying it will limit the chances of young aspirants to run for president.

They described the cost of the presidential form as “sickening” and “outrageous”.

President Muhammadu Buhari had in 2018 signed into law the #NotTooYoungToRun Bill, which aimed at removing the age constraints that hindered youths from seeking elective offices.

The APC, at the end of its National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting in Abuja on Wednesday, fixed the cost of forms for governorship at N50 million; Senate, N20 million; House of Representatives, N10 million; and State House of Assembly, N20 million.

When Buhari signed into law the #NotTooYoungToRun Bill, he had told the youth not to contest with him, but to wait until he left office.

Israel Abdulahi, APC national youth leader, had said recently that he would lobby other members of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) to reduce the cost of nomination forms for young people.

Abdulahi made the promise upon his emergence as the national youth leader during the party’s consensus national convention in Abuja last month. He had said that election would increase the number of youths that would contest for elective offices.

“I will go into the NWC meeting to make a case on behalf of that strong body of the youths across the nation to ensure that our young people get preference. If you are giving women 50 percent, you should be able to give young people under the age of 35 at least, if not 40, the consensus to be able to pay a discounted fee,” Abdulahi had said.

Although the APC has announced a 50 percent discount for nomination forms for members under the age of 40, it said they have to pay fully for the expression of interest forms.

Felix Morka, APC national publicity secretary, who disclosed this while briefing journalists at the party’s NEC, said: “Our youths also got some very special consideration out of this meeting. And our youth are considered persons between the ages of 25 to 40 to purchase the expression of interest forms but with a discount of 50 percent on the nomination forms.”

But out of the N100 million cost for presidential aspirants for instance, expression of interest form goes for N30 million, which must be paid in full by all aspirants, while nomination form is put at N70 million, which the youth would pay 60 percent.

Even with the discount, youths who have presidential ambition must pay about N70 million for the forms, which is much higher than the N40 million charged by the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the same office.

Reacting to the issue, Christian Okeke, Political Science lecturer at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, said it was a ploy to shut youths out of aspirations for elective offices.

Okeke, in an interview with BusinessDay, said: “Even though it is the prerogative of the party to raise funds for its activities and nobody should dictate to it how much to charge her members, but the amount fixed for its presidential expression of interest and nomination forms by the APC is sickening, discriminatory, outrageous, insensitive and conspicuously alarming and out of sync with realities on ground as regards the country’s economy.

“One may be tempted to even tag it daylight robbery. It presents a clear picture of the determination by the ruling elite to exclude rising political stars, the low, medium and honest income earners who are interested in politics from political participation.”

He added, “It is a ploy by the oligarchs to retain their over-domineering influence on politics. It is bye-bye to clamour by youths to contest elections. It is poison to clamour for political reform in the country. In fact, it is tantamount to a ploy to disenfranchise aspirants.

“In light of the present economy, it is absolutely impossible for millions who live on less than a dollar per day to aspire to govern this country. Except thieves, robbers, kidnappers as well as elected and appointed corrupt office holders, many honest and hard-working Nigerians cannot afford that amount for just two forms.”

Read also: APC fixes presidential form at N100m, convention holds May

Okeke said that even if putting the form at that amount was a way to prune down the number of aspirants, the implication was that APC planned to give the party’s ticket to the highest bidder.

“It is bye-bye to fair playing field and hilarious welcome to deepened influence of money in Nigeria’s politics, something that stakeholders were looking for ways to end. We hope that the Nigerian people have taken note of this. It is hoped that Nigerians now understand in full what the party stands for. It is hoped that the people will decide to take back power to themselves in the next election,” he added.

Some Nigerians took to their Twitter handles to condemn the APC’s costs of nomination forms, with some alluding to the lamentation of Buhari in 2014 when he was to pay just over N20 million for the same forms.

Eniola Akinkuotu @ENIBOY said: “8 years ago General Buhari said he could not afford the APC Presidential form which was pegged at N20 million. He said he took a bank loan to purchase the form. Today, while he is leader of the APC, the party has pegged its form at N100 million.”

Ayobami @dondekojo said: “If true, the price for the APC form is truly insane. Then again, they live in another world; thanks to the unbridled corruption in the past 7 years.”

Azubike Osumili @azuosumili submitted that: “APC get mind sha! 100m for nomination form to contest in the presidential primary. 100million Mullah, for wetin na? Highest in history. Where Ngige wan get 100m now?

Deborah Toluwase said: “APC’s form N100 million. This is a wawu. This is one of the reasons we say politics in Nigeria does not favour the youths. Imagine a youth trying to become president.”