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Bye-elections: Again, APC Fixes Exorbitant Fees For Forms

Nigeria’s ruling party, APC, on Monday, continued its habit of charging exorbitant sums for aspirants seeking to contest on its platform.

The APC said its members seeking the party’s ticket to contest for senatorial seats in the February bye-elections are to pay N20 million for the purchase of nomination and expression of interest forms.

Those aspiring for the party’s ticket to contest for House of Representatives seats in the bye-election will pay N10 million for the forms while those seeking the ticket to run for seats in the state houses of assembly will pay N2 million.

The National Organising Secretary of APC, Sulaiman Argungu, announced these in a statement on Monday in Abuja.

The amount fixed by the ruling party makes it impossible for non-corrupt retirees, public officials or university lecturers to contest for positions on its platform in a country with N30,000 minimum wage and where about half of the population lives in poverty. Most professors in Nigerian public universities take home less than N500,000 monthly and so would have to save all their earnings for two years to be able to afford such forms.

The APC had charged similar sums in the build-up to February’s general elections while the main opposition party, PDP, charged slightly lower sums; amounts that are still too high for most non-corrupt public officials.

The ruling party had justified the charges by saying it needed the money to run the party including its campaigns.

INEC announced bye-elections

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had earlier said it would conduct nine bye-elections and 35 re-run elections on 3 February.

The bye-elections resulted from the resignations or deaths of elected lawmakers and subsequent vacancies declared by the presiding officers of the National Assembly and the state houses of assemblies

The conduct of re-run elections in 35 constituencies is a result of the outcome of various election petition tribunals.

There are two vacancies in the Senate, four in the House of Representatives and vacancies in state constituencies in nine states, according to INEC.

The Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, on Wednesday, declared the seats of Ebonyi South and Yobe East Senatorial Districts vacant following the appointment of David Umahi and Ibrahim Gaidam as Ministers of Works and Police Affairs respectively.

In the House of Representatives, INEC said there are vacancies for Akoko North East/Akoko North-West Federal Constituency in Ondo State; Jalingo/Yorro/ZIng Federal Constituency, Taraba State; Surulere 1 Federal Constituency, Lagos State; and Yauri/Shanga/Ngaski Federal COnstituency, Kebbi State. 

Sales of form

Mr Argungu, while announcing the party’s timetable in preparation for the bye-election, stated that the sale of nomination and expression of interest forms will commence on 27 December and close on 2 January.

He noted that the nomination and expression of interest forms are available for purchase at the National Secretariat of the party in Abuja.

He explained that aspirants who are females and Persons with Disabilities will purchase the expression of interest forms at N3 million for senatorial, N1 million for the House of Representatives and N500,000 for the House of Assembly, while the nomination forms will be free for all categories.

Mr Argungu also said that young people between 25 and 40 years of age will get a discount of 50 per cent for the purchase of the forms.

“Female aspirants and Persons Living with disabilities aspirants are to purchase the expression of interest form while the nomination form is free.

“Youths 25- 40 years are to purchase the expression of interest form with a 50 per cent discount on the nomination form,” the ruling party said.

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