Former Director General of the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF) and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Salihu Moh Lukman, has lamented that the ruling part was progressively losing the little democratic credentials, which encouraged Nigerians to expect the possibility of a progressive party emerging out of it in 2015.
The APC chieftain lamented that by the high cost of nomination to contesting election, the cost of nomination form by 2027 for presidential election will not be less than N250 million while that of the governorship election may not be less than N125 million.
In a statement released Monday in Abuja, tagged “Resolving APC’s Progressive Retrogression”, Lukman said President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the governors on the platform of the party must have spent at least N150 billion and N14 billion respectively to win both the party’s primary and the main elections this year.
The former APC National Vice Chairman North West, also alleged that Tinubu spent over N50 billion to pick the presidential ticket during the primary and at least N100 billion to win the main presidential election.
As for the emergence of the APC governors, according to Lukman, some of them spent far above N3 billion to procure the tickets at the primaries as party candidates and equally spent at least N10 billion to win the main election.
He further explained that the expenditures also included the whopping sum of N100 million and N50 million the ruling party collected as purchase of expression of interest and nomination forms for the presidential and governorship elections respectively.
The APC chieftain said: “Beyond issues of strong public perception about similarity between the APC and other parties, there is also the troubling reality whereby it is increasingly becoming more expensive to aspire and win elections in APC, perhaps more expensive than in any other party.
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“For instance, cost of APC presidential and governorship nomination forms in 2014, ahead of the 2015 general elections, was N27.5 million and N5 million respectively. In 2019, it increased to N45 million and N22.5 million for presidential and governorship nomination forms respectively. It rose to N100 million and N50 million in 2023, respectively.
“At this rate, by 2027, the cost of APC nomination form for presidential election will not be less than N250 million. That of governorship election may not be less than N125 million.
In the case of the 2015 general elections, it is most likely that many of those who emerged as the governorship candidates for APC and won the party primary may have succeeded with far less than N1 billion. Although many would imagine such a cost as outrageous, this is most likely to be a very conservative estimate.
“There are states such as Lagos, Rivers, Delta and Akwa Ibom, which may have cost far above N2 billion to win the governorship primary in 2015. Like the case of cost of nomination forms, the cost certainly increased in 2019 and 2023 substantial.
“In fact, the most disturbing reality was more reflected in the case APC presidential primary. While in 2015, we had one of the excellent models of producing a presidential candidate in the person of former President Muhammadu Buhari who wasn’t a moneybag, and therefore had to rely on the generosity of fellow party leaders and well-wishers to finance the campaign for his primary election in both 2015 and 2019.
“In 2023, the reverse completely happened as all those who aspired and contested for the APC presidential primary, including President Tinubu shouldered all the financial burden for their primary campaign. To that extent, it is possible that President Tinubu may have incurred not less than N50 billion to win the APC presidential primary and emerged as the party’s presidential candidate.
“After incurring such huge personal expenditure with almost zero contributions from other party leaders, President Tinubu had to also shoulder almost all the cost of the 2023 presidential election with very negligible contributions from the APC and other leaders, if at all. Certainly, inclusive of the cost of winning the presidential primary, winning the 2023 presidential elections may have cost President Tinubu upward of N100 billion. By every standard, this is very outrageous and alarming. Cascading it down to governors, it would have cost each of the APC governorship candidates for 2023 elections not less than N10 billion to win the elections,” Lukman noted in the statement he signed and made available to newsmen in Abuja on Monday.
Highlighting the implications of the high election cost, Lukman noted; “As things are, we must be honest, Nigerian politics cannot continue the way it is today. Many Nigerians, especially APC members, expected that doing away with money politics is one of the changes APC will bring about. Unfortunately, things have progressively got worse.
“Sadly too, because structures of the party are not functioning, there is no avenue to deliberate all these and make proposals. APC is progressively losing even the little democratic credentials, which in 2015 encouraged Nigerians to expect the possibility of a progressive party emerging out of it.
“Many Nigerians, including APC members may be tempted to rationalise this unfortunate reality based on the liberal disposition of former President Buhari who was unable to ensure that APC matured into the envisioned progressive party in the last eight years. Consequently, APC virtually was taken over by whatever was PDP, and all its negative values include money politics,” he lamented.