A relatively unknown group called National Consolidation Ambassadors Network (NCAN), has bought the All Progressives Congress (APC) N45 million Expression of Interest and Nomination Form for President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election bid in 2019.
It would be recalled that the APC had stated that a presidential aspirant would pay N45 million for its expression of interest and nominations forms; a governorship aspirant, N22.5 million and senatorial, House of Representatives and state house of assembly aspirants N7 million, N3.85 million and N850, 000 respectively.
Presenting a cheque of N45 million to the national chairman of the APC in Abuja, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole at the national secretariat of the party in Abuja on Wednesday, the national coordinator of the group, Mr. Sunusi Musa, said NCAN said the president had laid a foundation for a better Nigeria.
“We are members of NCAN (and) our resolve, since our formation over a year ago, is primarily to ensure that president Buhari seeks another term as well ensure that the president emerges victorious in the 2019 poll.
“Our reason for embarking on this project is based on the recognition of the fact that the president has started laying a foundation for a better Nigeria and there is need to consolidate on the gains so far made.
“It is for this reason we pride ourselves as Network of Consolidation Ambassadors. From September 2017 up till April 2018, NCAN was in the forefront of calling on president Buhari to seek re-election; in order to consolidate on the good work he has been doing, by building on the foundation he has laid for a prosperous Nigeria.
“As God will have it, Mr. President acceded to the voice of reasoning and declared his intention to seek re-election in 2019. We believe in the leadership of president Buhari; we can count on him to consolidate the good work he has started for another four more years.
“It is for this reason that we have decided to pull our meagre resources together and purchased the expression of interest and nomination form for president Buhari as he presents himself to our party members; to be chosen as its candidate for the 2019 presidential election.
“Our members, from various villages, local governments and states, have contributed to making this happen.
“It is my singular honour and rare privilege to present to you a cheque of N45 million, as payment for the Expression of Interest and Nomination Forms for president Buhari,” the group said.
Meanwhile, the national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Uche Secondus has lambasted the APC for charging exorbitant nomination fees.
“When we heard about the nomination fees, we all thought it was a lie or joke. But events have shown that the fees are real and the APC is indeed a party of deceit.
“How do you want someone who claimed not to have touched N14m three years ago to now have such huge sum of money when he claimed he came to power to serve?
“We have now seen that instead of serving Nigerians, the APC and its members have come to serve themselves and their cronies.
“The amount of money it is asking its members and even Nigerians interested in elective offices to bring is horrible and criminal.
“Such action has shown the APC as a party of a few people who have either looted funds meant for the entire Nigerians or are still looting.
“Nigerians should resist it by running away from the party and its agents. In the next four years, it will definitely ask Nigerians to pay like N100m for presidential nomination fees.”
Similarly, a coalition movement, CNM led by the former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo said the APC is not sincere in its anti-corruption war.
On its part, the CNM led by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Buhari deceived Nigerians in a similar manner during the build-up to the presidential primary of the APC when he claimed that he took a loan of N27.5m in order to purchase the APC forms.
“Any party that claims to fight corruption needs to de-emphasise the idea of splashing money around or placing fees ranging from N45 to N50m to purchase forms. If your aim is to weed out pretenders from the list of aspirants, there are other ways to do that. It doesn’t have to be monetary.
“This is nothing but hypocrisy on the part of the APC. The President had said in 2014 that he obtained a bank loan in order to purchase the form. How did he pay it back? Today, they claim some youths purchased the forms but this is nothing but hypocrisy. The APC has already made it clear that Buhari will be its candidate,” said CNM spokesman, Mr. Akin Osuntokun.
In the same vein, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) slammed the APC for not being youth-friendly.
“We are not surprised that the APC has put such an outrageous amount of money as fees for its forms. We have said it several times that the APC intends to rig the forthcoming elections by inducing voters.
“And to do that, they need a lot of money. One of the means of getting such money is to levy their aspirants heavily.
“Otherwise, how did (President Muhammadu) Buhari pay for his nomination form in 2014?
“Even then people had to rally round and donate before he was able to purchase his own. We are talking of Not-too-Young-to-Run, how do you expect young persons, most of whom are unemployed, to raise such outrageous fees?
“It is an indication also that they are anti -youths, they are anti-masses, they do not have the interest of the masses at heart, and they are not concerned about credible leadership. They do not want credible people to participate in the election,” said the party’s national publicity secretary, Mr. Alfa Mohammed.