A presidential aspirant under the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Salihu Othman Isah, has kicked against the N100 million price tag slammed on the contestants for the office.
Isah, who is also a movie actor popularly known in the entertainment circle as Hotman, said only those with stolen money can purchase the form and with ulterior motive of seeing it as an investment they must recoup whilst in office.
The former National Vice President of Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) also described the action as a deliberate process perfected by the leaders to disenfranchise “genuine and passionate Nigerians” ready to serve.
Isah pointed out that once they succeeded in edging out those actually ready to transform the nation, their children and wards, “who they perfectly groomed to take over from them to continue to plunder our commonwealth,” will take over the system to continue where they stopped.
He said: “I read somewhere on a social media platform the APC youth leader happy to announce that he was able to negotiate a fifty percent discount for the youths who want to vie for the presidency. My question now is how many youths can muster such amount of money?
“What we are talking about here is N50 million just to purchase the form.”
Isah, a former chairman of Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) in the North-west zone, added: “Only the werewolves want to continue to superintend over the governance of this nation.
“And it is sad that this is happening under the watch of President Muhammadu Buhari. It is disheartening that he will allow the APC buccaneers to have their way.
“The cost is bound to limit the options available because most of those passionate and committed to leading the country out of the woods cannot afford the cost of buying the form.
“And to imagine that this is exclusive of the campaign resources required by the aspirants and/or candidates when they finally emerge to campaign nationwide.
“It will encourage and set the pace for massive looting by whoever is the product of this unintelligent fixing of the cost for obtaining the form.”
Isah, who in 2019 was recognised by the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) as one of the “50 future leaders”, advised the parties to drastically reduce the amount fixed for the forms.
He said, “We copied the presidential system of government from the United States of America, but I read somewhere that the cost of purchasing form to vie for office there is ten times less than what we have here.
“Where do they expect the youths to muster that humongous amount of money to purchase the forms if not that they are encouraging monumental looting of our common patrimony with a view to finally bury our dear nation?”
He bemoaned the actions of Buhari and the recently installed National Chairman of the party, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, whom he accused of now clearly coming to do the hatchet job of killing the party.
He said Adamu “is beginning to bare his fangs and, having started this way, I can assure you that before the 2023 general elections, APC will be no more.”
Isah said: “The game-plan is also to ensure mass movement out of the APC into other parties, especially the rival Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to serve their ulterior motives.
“To imagine that President Muhammadu Buhari, who claimed to be very poor in 2014 such that he couldn’t afford to purchase the forms as cheap as it was then compared to this one. If I recall, it was about N20 million at that time.”
He recalled that he was one of those who donated to Buhari’s campaign funds and mustered mass procurement of recharge cards to raise funds for his campaign.
“And for his re-election in 2019, some of us also deployed our hard-earned resources, personal funds, to prosecute the campaign. As for me, we won our units. We won our ward and we secured our local governments with personal resources to ensure victory for Mr. President.
“Our hope at that time was that Mr. President and our party, the All Progressives Congress, would get it right for the benefit of Nigerians going forward. But what we have today is the direct opposite, with stolen funds being what they want to use for campaigns and vote-buying.
“I am sorry for the youths of this country because none of those at the top reckons with them and wishes to hand power over them.
“The corrupt want to continue to steal and maintain crass display of wealth.
“But to me, I think it is a deliberate attempt to disenfranchise those of us on genuine rescue mission of this nation and I bet they won’t succeed in frustrating us.
“As I said here earlier, there are several other options since the wrecked old power-mongers won’t yield space for us. Mark my words please that I said no one will acquire this form with his or her hard earned resources. Funds they laboured over time to muster. Only those with stolen resources can and will afford it.
“And I think it is also a deliberate and wicked attempt to displace the youths after successfully achieving the ‘Not-Too-Young-To-Run’ act.
“Fifty million for a form to contest elections? It’s a calculated means to disenfranchise the youth. This is unbelievable. It is simply unacceptable.
“What shall we tell our children and our children’s children? That we kept quiet in the face of this shenanigans?
“I will, therefore, enjoin the youths to resist the deliberate attempt to disenfranchise them.
“And does this go to show that only the wealthy has solutions to the problems of our nation? My understanding of this situation is that what is given with one hand is taken away with the other, and this is preposterous and evil.
“Does it actually make sense? If you really want to render service and you have to pay this much to achieve it, it leaves much to be desired. To imagine it’s still a minute aspect of spending, which pales to insignificance compared to actual campaign spending all through the 36 states and FCT.
“I marvelled at the N40 million fees of PDP and whaaam, my party slammed N100 million for its presidential ticket.
“This is the trajectory we have found ourselves. A price or prize to serve in motherland Nigeria according to the gospel of the old leaders in charge of my party, APC. In fact, I cry for my beloved party.”