Fresh storm is raging in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) over the high cost of contesting elections on the party’s platform.
This is a sequel to the fact that the party’s fees for expression of interest and nomination forms have kept increasing since its formation in 2014.
Our correspondent reports that the cost of APC presidential and governorship forms in 2014, ahead of the 2015 general elections, was N27.5 million and N5 million respectively. In 2019, it increased to N45 million and N22.5 million. It, however, climbed to N100 million and N50 million in 2023, respectively.
But some stalwarts of the APC, who spoke with our correspondent yesterday asked the top echelon of the APC to make the 2027 contest less expressive, alleging that despite raking in billions of Naira from the sale of expression of interest and nomination forms prior to the 2023 elections, the party has failed to give an account of how the money was spent.
A former national vice chairman (North West) of the APC, Salihu Mohammed Lukman, in a statement yesterday lamented the increasing cost of contesting elections in the party and expressed fears that by 2027, the APC might charge N250 million for expression of interest and nomination forms for presidency and N125 million for governorship.
Lukman expressed concerns that the APC is “progressively losing the little democratic credentials” which encouraged Nigerians to expect the possibility of a progressive party emerging out of it in 2015.
Wait for NWC’s decision on 2027 polls – Spokesman
But the APC national publicity secretary, Felix Morka, said, “The issue of cost of forms for next elections is all speculations.”
Morka in a telephone chat with our correspondent yesterday said, “That N1 was demanded doesn’t mean it will be N2 next time. It may also be that it may be reviewed downward.
“So we must wait until the party decides for us to react. So I am not going to join issues with Lukman on that because whatever he is saying is speculation.”
Why the trend has continued – Prof. Kari
A Professor of Political Sociology at the University of Abuja, Kari, however, told Daily Trust in a telephone interview that the trend of placing high fee has continued in the APC because it is the ruling party. He also attributed it to systematic monetisation of Nigerian politics and the activities of a select few influential individuals who have hijacked the party.
“The fee for APC has been the highest because it is the ruling party. The underlying assumption is that anybody who gets APC ticket will likely get elected. It is an assumption that may be true, it may not be true.
He added that if the party leadership is able to put obstacles on the way to political participation through this constant hiking of the fee for nomination, “you have blocked the very essence of democracy and that is exactly what is happening. So the regime of high fee is a huge stumbling block on democracy because it stops those who cannot pay from participating.”
But, an elder statesman and former presidential candidate, Chief Chekwas Okorie, told Daily Trust that the big parties like the APC charges high because of the cost of running the party.