A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mike Ozekhome, has slammed President Muhammadu Buhari for allowing the All Progressives Congress (APC) to peg its presidential forms at N100 million.
Ozekhome said the president allowed the party to peg such an exorbitant price for presidential nomination forms despite his complaint in 2015 about the same issue. The SAN said the huge sum of the forms is a direct invitation to bare-faced thievery and political brigandage, asking Nigerians to condemn the party’s decision. Naija News had reported that the ruling APC had pegged its presidential nomination and expression of interest forms at ₦100 million. The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Felix Morka, made this known while addressing reporters after the 11th National Executive meeting of the party held at the Transcorp Hotel in Abuja on Wednesday. The APC spokesman stated that the nomination form would go for ₦70 million, while expression of interest forms would sell for ₦30 million. Morka added that the price of the nomination form for the senate was pegged at N20 million, while the House of Representatives is N10 million, and the State House of Assembly was fixed for N2 million. Reacting in a statement on Thursday, Ozekhome stated that President Buhari has shown with the cost of the presidential forms that his government was not fighting corruption. The legal luminary pointed out that the party’s decision has demonstrated to Nigerians that democracy is being monetized in the country, adding that the APC has mocked democracy with that singular action. He stated that any of the presidential hopefuls who can afford to pay for the forms should be investigated by the various anti-graft agencies in the country. Ozekhome asserted that some of the presidential aspirants who are political appointees and public office holders should be unable to purchase the forms given their income. He said: “With the new amended Electoral Act of 2022 fixing N5 billion limit for the presidential campaign as against the earlier N1billion under the 2010 Electoral Act, as amended, Nigeria’s politics and democracy have been completely monetarized with a swing towards anti-people capitalist mercantilism,” he said. “Buhari and the APC must tell us where they hope that Vice President Yemi Osibanjo, whose present annual salary is N12.126 million as recommended by the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission set up under section 32(d) of part 1 of the third schedule to the 1999 Constitution, will Obtain 100 million from when he would require 99 months (eight years and three months) to earn the 100 million price for the nomination form. “It will take President Buhari himself whose salary is #14.05m 84 months (7 years) to get #100m. “They must explain to Nigerians where aspirants like Dr Chris Ngige and Rotimi Amaechi who are ministers with an annual salary of #2, 026, 400 (#168,867 per month) will get 100 million for a presidential form when it will take them nearly 50 years to earn 100 million. “Let Buhari and the APC explain to Nigerians how Kayode Fayemi (Ondo State Governor), Yahaya Bello (Kogi State Governor), David Umahi (Ebonyi State Governor) and Rochas Okorocha (ex Imo state governor), whose salary per annum is #2, 223, 705, will cough out 100 million when it will take each of them 45 years to earn 100 million. Where will non-wealthy members of the APC, like Gbenga Hashim Olawepo get such money from? “This APC party and president Buhari must tell Nigerians where Senator Orji Uzor Kalu and former Senate president Dr Ken Nnamani would fetch #100m from when their salary as Senators was and is #750,000 per month (aside humongous allowances). It would take Kalu and Nnamani 135 years to earn 100 million.” Ozkhome said the exorbitant price tag discriminates against other members of the APC party, especially the youths and women, contrary to section 14(2)(b) of the 1999 Constitution. He added”: “The vulgarity of this exercise lies not just in the abominable fee prescribed, but more in the party’s pretentious mantra of fighting corruption, using a well-orchestrated and carefully oiled Hitler’s Goebel’s propagandist machinery of dubious pedigree. “President Muhammed Buhari and the APC have, by this singular act, exhibited a very odious and unpleasant example of how not to fight corruption. “They have managed to convince Nigerians that politics is indeed the art of grand deception, double-dealing, duplicity, beguilement, sham and self-contradiction. “The APC is now rabidly promoting plutocracy (government of the wealthy); gerontocracy (government of the oldest members of the society); and oligarchy (government of a select few).”
This article was originally published on Nigeria News