VON DG Okechukwu Defends N100m APC Nomination Form
Even as condemnation continues to trail the N100 million fee charged for the presidential nomination form of the All Progressives Congress, APC, the Director General of the Voice of Nigeria, Mr Osita Okechukwu, has risen in defence of the party.
Okechukwu stated this on Thursday morning in Abuja while chatting with journalists in response to widespread condemnation of the party’s decision of the APC National Executive Council meeting to peg nomination form for its presidential ticket at N100 million.
According to Okechukwu, the N100 million nomination election fees is to fulfill President Muhammadu Buhari’s promise not to fund APC with public fund.
Appealing to those who were outraged over the 100 million presidential forms and other nomination fees levied by the APC, Okechukwu explained that it was done to maintain the position of Mr President not to fund the party with public funds and for candidates to mobilise funds as President Buhari did.
“May I humbly appeal to our compatriots, our membership and our teeming supporters to note that the N100 million and other nomination fees are to primarily maintain the axiom of Mr President not to use public funds to fund our great party the APC,” Okechukwu said.
He said Buhari expects the candidates to mobilise nomination fees from their supporters as he did at various times during his bid to be president.
“With nostalgia one remembers when we opened Bank portals for Mr President where in the first round, Hajia Fati Koko, a Kebbi restaurant proprietor of blessed memory and Senator Ikechukwu Obiora topped the chart with N1 million respectively. Indeed an aspirant doesn’t need to personally own the N100m or N2m as the case maybe,” he said.
Okechukwu added that the APC as “the foremost brand in the electoral landscape is not expected to charge the same N30m presidential nomination fees with His Excellency Rabiu Kwakwanso’s NNPC; just as Mercedes G-Jeep is not the same price with Innoson G-Jeep.”
Asked about women and youths, Okechukwu explained that both have their concessions, “no nomination fees, only expression of interest for women and 40% discount for youths – we are reasonable enough to know that women and youths are our backbone.”
Okechukwu said, “We should not forget as well that the nomination fees for the 1923 Legislative Council election, which is the first legislative election in Nigeria was pegged by Legislative Council Order under Lord Lugard at £10. This is almost hundred years ago, therefore only financial experts will evaluate today what is the worth of £10? Liberal democracy throughout history is never cheap,” he defended the party.