The cost of nomination forms announced by the political parties ahead of Nigeria’s 2023 general elections for various elective positions have become a serious concern to many people, describing it outrageous especially that of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Recently, the APC National Executive Committee announced the N100,000,000:00 fee for forms for the aspirants jostling to contest for presidential primaries. With the 18 registered political pirates for the country, this is the highest amount that any party put up to buy presidential form since the return to democracy in 1999.
Other fees charged by the party include Governorship – N50,000,000:00; Senate – N20,000,000:00; House of Representatives – N10,000,000:00 and House of Assembly – N2,000,000:00 respectively.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which is the main opposition party nomination form price lists are: Presidential – N40,000,000:00; Governorship – N21,000,000:00; Senate – N3.5,000,000; House of Representatives – N2.5,000,000; and House of Assembly – N600,000:00 only.
However, one drama that has recently raised its ugly head in Nigerian politics and democracy is the sponsorship of the purchase of nomination and expression of interest forms for politicians to contest various positions in upcoming general elections in 2023.
This trend has sparked debates with many saying politicians are hiding under the guise of these groups to purchase the forms themselves.
It is laughable that politicians who are buoyant enough to buy nomination forms for themselves are claiming that the forms were bought for them by some groups. Perhaps, these politicians are hiding under this guise to tell the electorates that they are being called upon to serve or a way to win the heart of the electorates if they eventually get the nod of their political parties.
There is no doubt that the present position in Nigeria where over forty percent of the population live below poverty level, where the economy has gone comatose, where there is high level of insecurity. It is an industrial graveyard, ethnic and tribal disunity; kidnapping, ritual, killing, rape, arson and other criminal acts are blowing in the faces of all, especially those in authority.
The urge by the selected loved ones who constitute themselves to fronting for their “announced aspirants” for the elective positions calls for extra care by the political parties and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to go softly to prevent another darkness knocking the political space that can block the continued smooth sail of the fourth democratic republic.
Questions that need answers from the “poor” sponsored the “rich” aspirants include the sources from where they raised the huge amounts of #100 million to #50 million to purchase nomination forms, the relationship between these sponsors and the aspirants? Is the intention of the sponsors honest and not corruptly related? And are they financially buoyant enough to gather such huge amounts without insincerity of purpose? Undoubtedly, this is an act of encouraging godfatherism in the country; after all, there is a popular saying that he who pays the piper dictates the tune.
There is no doubt that the high monetary investment in electoral contests from the time aspirants show interest in elective positions lead to desperation, electoral malpractices and vote buying, thus undermining the legitimacy of elections in such environments.
Ahead of 2023 elections, the APC’s Expression of Interest and Nomination forms fee for presidential, Governorship, National Assembly and State Assembly were more expensive than those of the PDP for the same exercise. These fees will no doubt foreclose participation by many patriotic members while only those politicians who probably have had the chance to pillage funds will be able to buy the forms against the spirit of democratic parties in Nigeria.
What Nigeria needs now and in the nearest future is total transformation by patriotic, visionary and missionary individuals who are capable of bringing the nation out of the socio-economic quagmire it finds itself in.
The 2023 election demands upholding legacies of honesty, self-discipline, sincerity of purpose and clear love while electing our leaders who should know that success is a game whose rules must be learnt so as to do the best all the time which will ensure unity, peace and progress in the land.
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