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Outrage as APC sets Senate nomination form at N20m, Reps N10m for 2024 bye-elections

The APC has defended these fees in the past, justifying them as necessary for funding the party's operations, including campaign activities. However, the significant financial barrier they create has led to concerns about the inclusivity of the political process.

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Outrage as APC sets Senate nomination form at N20m, Reps N10m for 2024 bye-elections

Concerns about the financial barriers to political participation have been raised as the All Progressives Congress (APC) sets exorbitant fees for aspirants vying for its ticket in the upcoming bye-elections scheduled for February 2024.

The party, known for charging substantial sums in the past, declared that individuals seeking the party’s senatorial ticket will be required to pay a staggering N20 million for the purchase of both nomination and expression of interest forms.

The announcement came from the National Organising Secretary of the APC, Sulaiman Argungu, in a statement issued in Abuja.

According to the statement, aspiring candidates for the House of Representatives seats in the bye-election are mandated to pay N10 million for the requisite forms.

Meanwhile, those eyeing positions in the state houses of assembly are expected to part with N2 million for the forms.

Critics argue that the exorbitant fees effectively exclude many potential candidates, particularly retirees, public officials, and university lecturers, given the economic realities of a country where the minimum wage is N30,000 and approximately half of the population lives in poverty. Professors in Nigerian public universities, for instance, often earn less than N500,000 monthly, making it financially unfeasible for them to afford such forms without substantial sacrifice.

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This fee structure mirrors the one employed by the APC leading up to the general elections in February, where the main opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), charged slightly lower amounts. Both parties faced criticism for setting fees that were deemed prohibitively high for a significant portion of the population.

The APC has defended these fees in the past, justifying them as necessary for funding the party’s operations, including campaign activities. However, the significant financial barrier they create has led to concerns about the inclusivity of the political process.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had earlier announced plans to conduct nine bye-elections and 35 re-run elections on February 3, resulting from resignations, deaths, or other vacancies in elected positions.

The bye-elections encompass two Senate seats, four House of Representatives seats, and vacancies in state constituencies across nine states.

In anticipation of these elections, Mr. Argungu outlined the party’s timetable, indicating that the sale of nomination and expression of interest forms would commence on December 27 and conclude on January 2. Aspirants, including females and Persons with Disabilities, will be subject to varying fees, with nomination forms being free for all categories. Young people aged 25 to 40 will receive a 50% discount on the purchase of the forms.

The APC’s high fee structure raises broader questions about the accessibility of the democratic process and the potential impact on the diversity of political representation.

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