As the 2023 general election draws near, Dinidari Africa has observed with dismay, the outrageous price tags placed on both the Nomination and Expression of Interest forms by the major political parties in Nigeria.
For instance, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) recently announced that it’s presidential nomination forms would cost N100 million. A breakdown shows that that the Nomination Form costs a whooping N70 million while the Expression of Interest form cost a N30 million
Governorship forms would sell for N50 million, Senate forms go for N20 million, House of Representatives costs N20 million while the House of Assembly forms was pegged at N2 million.
While the APC had announced that women would pay for only the Statement of Interest form and youths seeking any of the above stated positions would part away with half the value of the forms, the question is: How many women and youths can afford these highly expensive forms and the cost of running campaigns in the country today?
As Nigeria’s leading gender-based organization, we consider the high cost of forms by the APC as a deliberate attempt by parties such as the APC, to relegate women to certain elective positions in the country.
Given the gender inequality and poor access to resources in Nigeria, placing such high fees on forms by the APC simply means that Nigerian women can either only vie for the House of Assembly positions or remain voters during the 2023 elections. This is a push-back to the efforts, by organizations like ours, towards encouraging women participation in politics and governance.
The outrageous costs of these forms is also a deliberate attempt to stifle healthy competition amongst the qualified and the rich in the country. It is also a step towards handing the party flag to only the highest bidder and not persons with integrity, character and competence.
The high cost of forms would only encourage corruption to thrive. It is interesting to note that even the president’s four-year annual salary cannot afford the N100 million for forms of the part if he was seeking re-election.
According to the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), which fixes the salaries and allowances of public officials, report published in 2020, the Nigerian President earns N14 million annually while his vice gets N12 million. Ministers earn N7.8 million annually.
Given the Nigeria’s poverty level, one would only expect the prices of these forms to be lowered to reflect our current reality. The action of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC shows that it is insensitive to the plight of Nigerians.
We condemn the costs of forms by the APC as it also goes to show that the present administration is only interested in prompting money-politics instead of good governance and competent leadership.