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Strong indications have emerged revealing that contrary to earlier speculation that only President Muhammadu Buhari will become sole presidential candidate in the All Progressives Congress (APC), there may be three more aspirants even though they are disturbed over the high cost of the forms.
It would be recalled that APC had earlier hanged its presidential form on N55m, but later slashed off N10m after public outcry.
However, three intending presidential contestants including Dr. SKC Ogbonnia, Chief Charles Udeogaranya and Alhaji Mumakai Unagha, who had severally called for the scrapping of the nomination forms and payments for expression of interest are considering leading a parallel national convention.
To them, the huge cost of N45 million nomination forms were illegal and against the provisions of the Electoral Law.
The three aspirants, Dr. SKC Ogbonnia, Chief Charles Udeogaranya and Alhaji Mumakai Unagha, while demanding the scrapping of the nomination forms also urged President Muhammadu Buhari who a group recently bought the forms for, to join them in rejecting the amount fixed for the forms as he had confessed that he could not afford them.
However, the trio averred that should APC fail to remove the millions of naira payable for forms, they may have no other option than to organise their primary in accordance with extant electoral laws.
The trio at a joint press conference in Lagos, said “We demand that President Muhammadu Buhari should reject the N45 million nomination forms purchased for him by a group.” In making the call, the group said fixing the forms at N45 million directly violated the provisions of the Electoral Act, which sets limits on the amount that a group or individual can donate to a presidential candidate. The aspirants also said it ran against the anti-corruption crusade of the administration.
“Though some aspirants can afford the exorbitant cost of the forms, such amount is clearly not affordable to many others, including President Buhari and particularly the youths and women of our great party, APC.”
“We demand that the party (APC) should, without further delay, scrap nomination fees as it is inconsistent with the law of the land.”
“Failure to adhere to the aforementioned demands will give us no other option than to conduct our own primaries in line with extant electoral laws and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
But in a swift response, APC spokesman, Yekini Nabena, said “In fact, it would have been more than that, but it was brought down out of consideration of the economic situation on the ground. “The party is expected to use the proceeds from the forms to organise the direct primaries,” the party spokesman said. The Presidency kept mum on the issue, saying it would not comment on the issue,” Nabena averred.
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