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N100m Forms: APC now party of the wealthy –Fmr Gov

Former governor of Cross River State and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Clement Ebri, has joined others to condemn the cost of the Expression of interest and Nomination forms of the party, saying that the party is now for the wealthy.

The party had pegged the nomination fee for its presidential ticket at N100 million while that of the governorship is pegged at N50 million. Reacting to this yesterday, Ebri, former governor, said such pegging was taking away the progressiveness of the party and making it the party of the wealthy, by the wealthy and for the wealthy. According to him: “Such a high cost of party nomination forms can also affect the electorate’s perception of the party and the anti-graft war, which is the party’s hallmark.” Ebri queried: “Are we not inadvertently making the APCapartyof thewealthy, by the wealthy for the wealthy? This last question has deep implications for a party that is in power and, as custodian, necessarily has access to our common wealth.”

He admonished party members, saying: “All true partymenandwomenshould be concerned that our party, which was founded on the values and ideals of progres-sive philosophy will make prequalification for elective offices – at state and national level – the exclusive preserve of partymemberswitheither great personal wealth or that have unlimitedaccess to other sources of funding.

“The danger this poses to the party is that many prospective and otherwise eminentlyqualifiedoffice- seekers thatdonotpossessenormous personal wealth will in every practical sense be precluded from seeking party nomination, regardless of the depth and breadth of their popular support. “If, as some people may argue, that the reason for the exorbitantcostof nomination forms is simply to prune the number of contenders, or to delineate the pretenders from the contenders, then I think that argument is flawed. “There are ample objective and progressive criteria such as: integrity, experience, character, political antecedents, empathy, intelligence, goodwill, etc., which can be employed to enable the emergence of genuinely qualified candidates. We all know that personal wealth was not the yardstick of assessment that enabled his Excellency Mr. President to emerge as flagbearer of the party in 2015 and 2019.” The case of women and persons living with disability (PWD) is equally worrisome. “Given the history of social and political exclusion of women and PWD, which the party has been in the vanguard of addressing, how many persons living with disability can afford to pay N30, 000,000 as Expression of interestfor thepresidentialticket?”

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