The Presidential Campaign Organisation of Dr Phillip Idaewor, Chairman of APC Diaspora Chairmen Forum, has urged the leadership of the party to reconsider the N100 million fees for the party’s nomination and declaration of interest forms for its presidential aspirants.
In a statement signed by the Director General (DG) of the Ideawor Hope2023 campaign organisation, Mazi Charles Eze, the group said there was need for the party to reduce the fees to make it affordable and open to more Nigerians to participate.
Eze said the high cost of nomination forms for aspirants for major political parties in Nigeria was fast becoming a norm that must be checkmated so that it would not metamorphose into a terrible political cancer.
“”We are adding the voice of reason to the consciousness of true patriots who believe and champion the course of our motherland
“It is Nigeria First before our political parties and our candidates. It has become very obvious that people’s personal ambitions are gradually being placed over the healthy corporate existence of our dear country.
“That we must not encourage.The Hope2023 campaign organisation and all our affiliate organisations are united in condemning any machination and gang up toward using money politics to discourage capable and qualified aspirants from running for any elective office from the grassroots to the presidency in Nigeria,” he said.
The DG said it was shocking that since the infamous announcement of the bloated nomination and expression of interest fees of the APC, none of the contestants had condemned or sought the party’s explanation on the reasons behind the astronomical increase.
“To some pundits, it is an avenue to fund the party since revenues from elected officials and membership subscriptions are not regular.
While others argue that the consistent weak party leadership is responsible for the low remit of membership subscriptions from all the chapters.
“In view of the above, it argued that a few rich influential members have seen this gap as an instrument of influence to control the party should they fund the party.”
This trend he said, remained dangerous and damaging to the foundation of political parties in Nigeria and detrimental to national development or progress, and worked against citizens’ interests.
“We believe our political parties should look elsewhere at how political parties are funded. In the older established democracies, political parties are funded by private donors, party members, businesses, trade unions and the state.
”Interestingly all donations have maximum contribution limits which prevent any entity or person(s) from having a domineering influence on the party.
“Our call hereof is on Nigerians to understand that where the parties are poorly managed, where high-quality patriotic citizens are shot
out of the leadership space by the deliberately imposed high cost of participation, the country and her people suffer.”
He alleged that there had been a conscious effort to exclude credible candidates lacking in stupendous wealth and affluent backers from Nigeria’s political leadership space.
According to him, the ploy by political parties in Nigeria to stop qualified candidates will deny us as a country, the human capital needed to enrich Nigeria’s political leadership and keep us from reaching our potential as a country.
“Political parties are too important institutions in a democracy to be managed without reference to national vision and national realities.
”It is true that Nigeria is not the only country where political parties require payments for nomination form and expression of interest forms to contest elections.
”But comparatively, the USA, the country from where we borrowed the presidential system template, although has the most expensive presidential electioneering structure but it is tailored to accommodate everyone who wishes to stand for an election. Compared to Nigeria the following breakdown for nomination filing fees is what obtains in the U.S:.
”Governorship – The average fee is between 2,000 dollars – 3,750 dollars (or N980,000). Congress (House of Representatives) is 1,760 dollars (N850,000).• State House of Representatives (House of Assembly)is between 200 dollars – 750 dollars, Presidential – Nomination filing fees are determined by each state, for example, New Hampshire-1000 dollars , South Carolina-40,000 dollars , Texas-5,000 dollars etc. It is evident from the above that non of Nigeria’s main political parties is as low compared to the U.S.”
He noted that what was happening in Nigeria’s political leadership selection process remained counterproductive to its national development aspiration.
“Whilst the cost of nomination and expression of interest forms can be considered high in other African countries, Nigeria stands way above even the most expensive in Africa.
“We urge all patriotic Nigerians to challenge the dependency of political parties on candidates’ fees for funding.
”Silence or inaction is no longer an option. Nigeria’s present political leadership class should be discouraged from continuing to promote discrimination and marginalisation of less privileged political players,” he added.
Eze, however, added that
the Independent National Electoral Commission should take responsibility of setting a reasonable limit on political parties’ charges.