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Primaries: Despite generating billions, APC faces cash crunch

Despite generating billions of naira from the sale of expression of interest and nomination forms during the recently concluded primaries, the ruling All Progressives Congress…

Despite generating billions of naira from the sale of expression of interest and nomination forms during the recently concluded primaries, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is having difficulties footing its bills, credible party sources told Daily Trust.

The sources said the party has not paid the allowances of members of the committee that conducted the primaries in states just as chairmanship aspirants are yet to get a refund of the N20m they paid for forms as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari ahead of the national convention of the party.

It was also gathered that the party has not paid the August salary of its workers at the national secretariat.

During its primaries between April and June, the ruling party raked in over N29bn from the sale of forms.

APC bigwigs across the country had thronged Abuja city and bought forms for the primaries, which were conducted between April and June 2022.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed February 25, 2023, for presidential and National Assembly elections while governorship and state assembly elections have been slated for March 11. 

The APC top echelon had moved the venue for the purchase of forms from its national headquarters to the International Conference Centre (ICC), Abuja, where presidential, governorship, senatorial, House of Representatives and Houses of Assembly aspirants picked their forms. 

Daily Trust had reported how the ruling party raked in over N29bn from the sale of forms which started in April and ended in May 2022. 

The APC had pegged its presidential forms at N100m, governorship, N50m, senatorial, N20m, N10m for House of Representatives and N2m for state house of assembly aspirants

The National Organising Secretary of the party, Sulaiman Argungu, had told newsmen in Abuja that 145 aspirants bought governorship forms, 351 obtained forms to contest senatorial primaries, 1,197 picked forms for the House of Representatives, while 28 presidential aspirants also obtained their forms. 

He, however, did not give a breakdown of the number of state houses of assembly aspirants that bought forms. 

A source said part of the money generated was set aside for logistics while part of it was used for the hiring of venues mostly hotels for various screening exercises. He said part of it would be used for the 2023 campaigns. 

He said, “Well, part of the money went for renting of venues for various exercises,” adding that the money used for printing of forms was equally removed after the exercise.

 

We are being owed – Staff 

But some staff of the APC National Secretariat who spoke with our correspondent in confidence lamented that they did not know how the money was being spent as they were allegedly suffering under the Abdullahi Adamu-led National Working Committee (NWC). 

One of them from the North Central said, “It baffles me. Our welfare is not guaranteed under the current leadership. Despite the money the party raised, we had nothing to take home during Eid-el Fitri. Rather, the leadership of the secretariat wrote to governors to make provisions for the Sallah package. Consequently, the governors gave it a deaf ear pointing to billions generated from the sale of forms. That is the situation.” 

Another staff said, “I have been there since the merger. What has been the tradition is that we get paid no later than the 25th of every month. And we get a Sallah bonus. 

“We enjoyed it during Oshiomhole. We enjoyed it during the Buni-led caretaker committee. We do get paid on the 23rd of the month sometimes under Buni as circumstances would warrant.  But things are different now. 

“Now our August salary is pending. Do you know the danger? Schools have reopened; we have to pay school fees. The cost of feeding is high. No August salary yet. September will soon end. This is not fair.” 

 

C’ttee members yet to be paid, 3 months after 

A chieftain of the party, Chief Jackson Lekan Ojo, however, said, “The party has not even paid the allowances of committee members sent to states to conduct primaries. So this requires a probe. The account of the party should be probed. Either monkey or snake must have swallowed the money.”

Ojo said, “Where is the money? Why are the staff of the party dying of hunger? Why can’t the national secretariat of the party be maintained? Are they the ones to sponsor the 2023 elections?”

The party is still in debt despite the humongous amount of money it generated from the sale of forms.

Our correspondent reports that members of the APC appointed into committees to conduct primary elections for elective offices nationwide are still crying out over the non-payment of their allowances. 

The party had constituted committees for the conduct of presidential, governorship, national and state assemblies’ primary polls ahead of the 2023 general elections. 

A member of one of the committees told Daily Trust that they had not been paid despite several promises by the NWC. 

Another member of the committee from the North-East geopolitical zone said they submitted their account details two months ago. 

“We have not been paid. They requested our bank details two months ago but we have not been paid. They keep on telling us that our allowances are being processed. This is not good for our party,” a chieftain of the party said, pleading not to be named. 

 

Chairmanship aspirants yet to get refund, despite Buhari order 

Similarly, some ex-chairmanship aspirants who stepped down for the current National Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu during the February Convention that produced him, said they were yet to be refunded their money spent on the expression of interest and nomination forms as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari. 

One of the chairmanship aspirants, Sunny Sylvester Moniedafe (Jagaban Jimeta) from Adamawa State confirmed to our correspondent in a telephone chat yesterday that the party has not refunded their money. 

He said, “They have not refunded it. I am worried honestly. They have not paid us. I don’t want to complain but this is not right at all. 

 “Somebody called us and said we should give details of our accounts, but for over a month now, nothing has happened.” 

The APC had sold its expression of interest and nomination forms for chairmanship aspirants at the rate of N20m. 

 

We’re using funds to run party affairs – Spokesperson 

The APC National Publicity Secretary, Barrister Felix Morka told Daily Trust in a telephone chat yesterday that the party is spending the money on running the party. 

He said, “The party is spending its funds in the administration of the party; in running the party.

“We just came out of the primaries. The party was heavily interested to ensure that the primaries were conducted up to the standard or expectation of the party. 

“All of the expenditures were undertaken to execute the programme of the primary for the party. We had moved from one state to the other in line with the Electoral Act for the party to conduct free, fair and effective primaries,” he said. 

On the non-payment of members of the committee that served during the primaries, he said, “many have been paid and the process is still ongoing.”