Human rights lawyer Femi Falana has faulted the N100m presidential nomination form fee set by the All Progressive Congress (APC), describing it as “immoral” since the country’s minimum wage is N30,000. Aside from the fee of the APC Presidential form, the People’s Democratic Party, PDP also pegged its own at N40 million.
It is outrageous amounts like this, that force politicians to seek Godfathers who then later control them to siphon public funds. The cost of these forms is not in any way in the interest of ordinary Nigerians. The price has automatically shut out the common man who might probably have an interest in contesting.
The price of these forms just signifies one thing, which is a deliberate move to shut out the majority of interested candidates to favor the extremely rich ones. It has made it seem like the position is chosen based on wealth, rather than competence.
The All Progressive Ruling Party, APC is truly insensitive by not considering the country’s economy and also excluding well-meaning Nigerians who have the right to seek and contest for elective positions in the country. Following the public outrage by Nigerian citizens concerning the price of the forms, the ruling party, APC publicly disclosed that the price of the form was put at that price to shut out unserious aspirants.
So one is tempted to ask, does putting it at such an outrageous amount bring about serious aspirants? With the caliber of politicians who have purchased the forms, I doubt. It is things like this that encourage looting, because a typical Nigerian politician after eventually winning the election, his first duty when he resumes office is to steal and recover what was spent on form and campaigns.
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari 2018, signed the “Not Too Young To Run” bill into law, these fees have automatically made it difficult for young Nigerians to run for political positions in the country. These outrageous fees for a nomination form, have automatically dashed the hope of millions of young Nigerians who a majority of them do not have such an amount to buy the forms.
There have been calls from several Nigerians to investigate those politicians who have bought the nomination forms for fraud. According to human rights lawyer Femi Falana, he disclosed that the nomination fee violates the African charter on human and people rights, and the Nigerian Constitution as well.
He, therefore, disclosed that the statement of the ruling party APC, for placing the form fee too high to shut out unserious aspirants is flawed, stating that such a move goes against the Constitution as nobody has the right to restrict ordinary citizens from participating in the politics of their country.
Such a move has shown that the politics of this country is only meant for the money bags. It is just as if the country just keeps retrogressing backward without any positive change in view. President Muhammadu Buhari rode to power on the campaign promise of fighting corruption, only for him to go contrary to such promise by placing the nomination fees at an outrageous amount. The President should note that such move a will encourage looting and corruption.