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APC, corruption and nomination fees

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APC, corruption and nomination fees

Following the level of contradiction and double standard often displayed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in recent times, I want to believe the party is seriously suffering from selfinflicted malady occasioned by lack of coordinated leadership at its top echelon.

The party has made its anticorruption crusade another ridiculous showpiece with several copious examples that suggest it dwells more on political witch-hunt than addressing the fundamental issues of building the right perception architecture for the hydra-headed malaise.

Anticorruption has been politicised to the extent that it suddenly became somewhat a bargaining tool to effect defection and get some political bigwigs into APC, especially persons whose hands have been soiled by their less than noble conduct while holding offices. In such association of political sinners, everyone knows the other person is sinful but no courage to really interrogate one another because they are bound by the same indecent code of conduct.

It has become an open wound that most of those who defected to the APC, are persons who have questions to answer concerning their level of profligacy and financial malfeasance at various levels of their interface with public funds.

The contradiction becomes so pervasive when you hear the APC talk about anti-corruption and the level of achievements they easily advertise to confound the sensibilities of unsuspecting members of the public.

Even in their heart of hearts, they know that the truth is being sacrificed but they are satisfied with telling bogus lies to helpless Nigerians just for the sake of maintaining the same narrative that got it into power in 2015. In private conversations, some chieftains of the APC will lament to high heavens the level of rot in the system, the poor leadership showing of the president, the lack of synergy of governmental platforms, and the slow, snail-pace approach of the President in taking quick decisions.

Some will tell you in unequivocal nuance, that they are handicapped by their present situation and hence won’t be able to derive the courage to interrogate the processes that have made APC a laughing stock in the eyes of discerning Nigerians.

When you see graffiti of the APC several contradictions and how its leadership has been made to eat the humble pie, you will understand why Nigeria would have to wait for Armageddon to get true role models. How men are able to stand on political pulpit to churn out barefaced lies in such shameless manner comes to me with helpless awe. From the president to the last man standing, most narratives these days are merely political talk for the sole purpose of 2019 elections. Those who are troubled by their consciences often maintain conspiratorial silence in order not to offend the sensibilities of the cabal that has held us captive for some time.

To unveil the internal contradictions of the APC, the recent reported decisions of its National Executive Committee (NEC) to apply direct primary for its presidential convention, and indirect primary for other categories of convention have already generated heated discussion amongst its folks. The NEC, the highest decisionmaking body of the party, seems to have agreed on certain process, the National Working Committee (NWC) appears to be travelling on another route.

The party is presently at crossroads because simple decisions of her NEC are not being respected. To make matters worse, a party that prides itself as the anti-corruption czar of this generation, imposed ridiculous nomination fees on all aspirants from the House of Assembly to the presidency. A party that calls itself progressives, shut its doors against all democratic principles of allowing other persons to vie for the presidency. To compound an already compounded situation, it imposes a humongous nomination fee of N55 million or $140,000 on a president it has generously branded as a poor man whose only item on his menu list is integrity.

Where does the party expect a “poor” President Muhammadu Buhari to get such a humongous nomination fee especially at a time when opinions are unanimous that we should de-monetise politics to make it more attractive, service-driven and participatory? Knowing the internal conspiracies of the APC, the president is expected to raise dust over this, then the party will now carry out a downward review on the lame excuse that the president cannot pay such amount of money.

Smart politicians, one would say, but Nigerians have become familiar with those weather-beaten narratives that have generously impoverished the polity. Nigerians have come to terms with the dubiety of a process and strategy that was applied in 2015 to scam the electorate into believing that President Buhari was a man of integrity who could not afford N27 million to purchase his nomination forms.

Poor Nigerians were exploited by declaring they would buy the form in exchange for result-driven leadership that a PMB would offer. After over three years on the saddle, those poor Nigerians have become poorer with a damning statistics that have elevated Nigeria to the pinnacle of the worst poverty infected country in the World. A population of 87 million Nigerians suffer from such deprivations, starvation and poverty, almost 50 per cent of our total population.

Now, if the APC rulers truly believe in themselves and the narratives that have occupied their minds about PMB’s poverty of the pocket, why would they impose such humongous fee? Why would they also impose such roof-top nomination fees on other categories of aspirants when its cardinal objective has to do with anti-corruption? Why do we have to heavily monetise the processes of seeking elective offices when the attraction should be on how to de-monetise the processes and allow for more credible persons with good names other than illicit riches of the front runners in the electoral space?

A progressive party that is truly worth its name, should naturally offer affordable nomination fee to aspirants in the recruitment process and get more people to show interest and buy into its philosophy of change.

Even though I am not persuaded by PMB’s reported complaint about the high nomination fee, which to me is a mere pretence to hoodwink the electorate once again, it’s possible the APC’s rulers deliberately wanted to embarrass the President. And surely they have succeeded in doing just that.

And the next questions will be: where will their Mr. Integrity PMB get N55 million to pay for the form? and where are the poor “lazy” youths that would buy the form for him this time, knowing the excruciating poverty and starvation they have suffered under his poor leadership? And this also brings us to the larger question of funding the election itself. Where will a “poor” PMB secure his campaign funds from? Who will be his donors and fund-raisers? Will he be transparent enough to disclose the real identities of his donors in line with the provisions of the Electoral Act? Nigerians didn’t enjoy the luxury of knowing those who donated and funded his 2015 campaigns that consumed so much money and budget. He was chauffeured around and flown across states in jets.

He enjoyed the fragrance and candour. He enjoyed the splendour without complaint, but as soon as he stepped his feet into the inner sanctuary of the Villa, it was a different story altogether. This time, as a man of “integrity” which his handlers are wont to make us believe, we will be waiting for his full disclosure in consonance with his anti-corruption crusade. We will be waiting to see whether an anti-corruption driven president will use looted funds to spice up his campaign especially at a time when poverty has overwhelmed Nigerians. Time will tell.

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