An Abuja-based human rights lawyer, Pelumi Olajengbesi, has slammed the ruling All Progressives Congress for the ‘exorbitant cost’ of its nomination forms for elective posts which he described as akin to a ransom demanded by kidnappers terrorizing the country.
The attorney made this known in a statement titled “Fee or ransom? A call for young Nigerians to revolt against APC in the 2023 elections.
The APC had last week set fees for nomination forms – while presidential candidates are expected to pay N100m, gubernatorial candidates will pay N50m, House of Representatives candidates will pay 10 million naira and Senate candidates will pay 20 million naira.
Many Nigerians and civil society organizations had called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to investigate any APC presidential candidate who buys a nomination form for N100 million.
Reacting, Olajengbesi lamented that “the ruling Progressive Party is auctioning off the presidency”, adding that an average civil servant earning the national minimum wage would have to save all his earnings for over 200 years to afford the presidential form.
He added: “A candidate who spends far more than he would earn in a single term as base salary would be spending part of his time in office recouping his ‘investment’.
“I must confess that my first thought upon finding out the cost of the APC presidential form fee was whether the party is inspired by terrorists and daring bandits who kidnap people for ransom. These bandits could be inspired to go further in their demands!
“The paradigm of a failed party overseeing a failed government auctioning off its party form at such outrageous prices is a bad omen. There is no integrity in these charges having the backing of General Muhammadu Buhari who claimed he struggled to secure a loan to secure the 20 million naira form charges from the APC in 2015. A leader should mitigate and not aggravate the difficulties unless, of course, it is an admission of the biting inflation that has plagued this government from its inception until today. All things considered, it’s an embarrassing affair.
“It is incumbent on young Nigerians whose immediate future is threatened by the monetization of governance to say enough is enough by making their voices heard loud and clear at the ballot box.”
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