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‘Politics is all about money’, APC reacts to debate over cost of nomination forms

The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has said “politics is all about money”, stressing that whoever wants to remain in it and contest election on…

The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has said “politics is all about money”, stressing that whoever wants to remain in it and contest election on the party’s platform must be ready to spend on its expression of interest and nomination forms. 

The Deputy National Organising Secretary of the party, Nze Chidi Duru, in an interview with Daily Trust in Abuja, said aspirants on the party’s platform must also be ready to canvass their “ideas and philosophies” before the electorate.

Since becoming the ruling party in 2015, after formation in 2013, the APC is known for placing high charges on expression of interest and nomination forms. 

Recall that Muhammadu Buhari had while obtaining the APC forms in the build-up to the 2015 general elections lamented the cost of the forms and claimed to have taken a loan to buy them.

The APC is under intense bashing by some Nigerians and stakeholders for placing high fees for expression of interest and nomination forms ahead of the by-elections slated for February 3, 2024. The party has pegged N20 million for its expression of interest and nomination forms for senatorial aspirants, N10 million for House of Representatives and N2 million for state houses of assembly per aspirant. 

For the Edo governorship election, the party is collecting N50 million from aspirants for the forms. It collected N100 million from presidential aspirants in 2022, prior to the 2023 poll.

The backlash has gained traction, especially as the leading opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has placed low fees on its forms for the by-elections. It pegged the expression of interest and nomination forms for the Senate, House of Representatives and House of Assembly at N3.5 million, N2.5 million and N600,000 for the elections. 

But reacting to the development, the APC Deputy National Organising Secretary, Duru, said rather than flay the party for the cost of its forms, members and other Nigerians should commend the APC National Chairman, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, for not increasing the cost of forms, but sustaining the 2022 rates despite high inflation in the country. 

He said, “Also bear in mind the political space that we operate. Politics is all about money, it is all about expenses, and if you need to be in it, you should be able to buy the forms, be in the position to also canvass your ideas and philosophies before the electorate. 

“All these costs money but APC has shown greater understanding more than any other political party in Nigeria that they did not add one kobo on top of the fee that was charged in 2022 primaries.”

It’s dangerous for democracy – Prof. Jibrin 

But a Professor of Political Science, Jibrin Ibrahim, however, told Daily Trust over the phone that putting aside politics of ideas and principles for politics of money is very dangerous for democracy.

He said, “The calculation is, if you want to be getting millions of naira like senators get, then you should invest some reasonable amount to the party that is creating the opportunity for you. 

“What all these means is that they are really engaging in a system of re-enforcing commercialisation of politics; putting aside politics of ideas and principles for politics of money, and that is very dangerous for democracy.”

Similarly, a Professor of Political Sociology at the University of Abuja, Abubakar Kari, told Daily Trust via phone that the development is a direct outcome of systematic monetisation of Nigerian politics in the Fourth Republic, which in turn leads to exclusion.

He said, “It is a sad development, and it is a direct outcome of systematic monetisation of Nigerian politics. We have complained severally, we have pointed out that this Fourth Republic has been characterised by systematic monetisation; money is now everything. 

“The direct consequence, of course, is exclusion. So aspirants and people who are desirous of contesting for election are being edged out deliberately; automatically, they are excluded, and this is very undemocratic. Because one of the pillars of democracy upon which democracy reigns is participation. 

“A situation where you deliberately exclude people from aspiring, is antithetical, antidemocratic, and a direct affront on one of the major cardinal principles of democracy which is participation. Another pillar of democracy is choice. And this systematic exclusion of people from aspiring also does violence to choice. The choices of the electorate are being unduly restricted.”

 

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