The presidential aspirants on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) are to return to the party their Nomination and Expression of Interest forms with the signatures of 10 statutory delegates from each state in Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), as a precondition for the submission.
As was disclosed to newsmen, each aspirant was required to get the signatures of 370 statutory delegates, covering the 36 states of the federation and the FCT. As of Sunday, 8th May 2022, about 17 aspirants had reportedly obtained the N100m forms, but it could not be ascertained how many of them had returned the completed session of the forms.
Some of those who have picked the forms include Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo; former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu; Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; the President of African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, as well as incumbent Governors Yahaya Bello and Abubakar Badaru of Kogi and Jigawa states, respectively, among others.
It’s noteworthy that over 30 aspirants have so far declared interest in the coveted office on the APC platform whilst about 17 have obtained forms already.
The party in the guidelines and timetables released by its National Organizing Secretary, Sulaiman Argungu fixed Tuesday, 10th May 2022 as the last day for the submission of the forms.
The party had come under criticism for the Form 18 tagged ‘Letter of Withdrawal’ attached to the forms. The aspirants were expected to sign the letter and submit it with their forms and other documents.
The letter, which must be signed before a commissioner for oaths/ notary public prior to submission, read in part, “I hereby voluntarily withdraw my candidacy from the contest. My withdrawal is in the best interest of our great party, the All Progressives Congress.”
Some of the aspirants were said to be uncomfortable with the letter as they perceived it as a move to impose a consensus candidate on them.
Further findings revealed that getting the statutory delegates’ signatures and the letter of withdrawal were some of the reasons a number of the aspirants had yet to submit their forms.
The statutory delegates include the sitting President and his Vice, serving governors and ex-governors, State Executive Council members, National Executive Committee and National Working Committee members, as well as all former national officers of the party, amongst others.
Meanwhile, members of the National Assembly across political parties and regions have asked the ruling APC and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to jettison the idea of not fielding southern presidential candidates for the 2023 general election.
The lawmakers predicted dire consequences for the country should power be retained in the North beyond next year. Neither the APC nor the PDP has zoned its presidential ticket to the South, as some northern aspirants in the major parties are already campaigning for the presidency.
As these presidential aspirants of the APC are charged with the responsibility of meeting with all the 370 statutory delegates of the party before they could return their respective completed forms, it’s a clear indication that most of them would lose interest in the impending contest in the long run.
The APC having May 10, 2022 as the deadline to return the completed forms strongly shows that many of the jobber politicians who had indicated interest to vie for the party’s presidential ticket would definitely drop their ambitions before the end of Monday being 9th May.
I have earlier pointed out that most of them, who I had tagged ‘noise makers’, were just creating distractions among the serious aspirants in the party, and were heavily lobbied or paid to do so. Likewise, the display is still taking place in the opposition party, the PDP.
As the melodrama gets funnier, the electorate are poised to watch with keen interest, as the discerning ones are determined to ascertain who are actually the chaffs among the grains.