Adamu Garba, an aspirant who had declared his intention to contest the presidency on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), says he will not purchase the nomination form for his party.
He disclosed his decision at a media briefing on Tuesday.
While criticising the APC over the N100 million fixed for the nomination and expression of interest forms, Garba said although he got N83 million in donations, there were issues on the forthcoming presidential primary, which he didn’t agree with.
“This conference to notify Nigerians and my supporters all over the country that after high-level deliberation with our internal campaign team, we have concluded that we will not be obtaining the expression of interest and nomination form for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under the platform of the APC,” he said.
“Our generation should not set an example as part of the people that supported the financialisation/commercialisation of our political space, especially the public office, considering the prohibitive cost of the nomination forms. The highest in the world.
“We believe this action is capable of over-financialisung our political space, institutionalising vote-buying, encouraging corruption, and complete obliteration the youth and the poor from participation.
“When we raised this concern on several media fora, the party, however, believed the high cost of form will separate the serious contenders from unserious ones.
“This goes contrary to our belief that you can only separate serious contenders from unserious ones by the competency, capacity, credibility, strength of the programme, workable solutions, and sellable candidate to Nigeria through rapid intraparty debates and other high-level criteria reviews that can ensure we present a better leader for future for Nigeria.
“We further discovered that even if we went ahead to obtain the form, the party has foreclosed the plan for primary election because of the presence of the request for a Letter of Voluntary Withdrawal on page 18 of the nomination form.
“I cannot, in all honesty, rally funds from my supporters in the hope that we will be having a primary election, then sign a postdated letter of voluntary withdrawal from the contest.”
Garba also accused the APC of taking steps that ran contrary to democratic values, and urged stakeholders to make efforts to address the situation.
He, however, said he would disclose more information soon on his interest in contesting the presidency.
“The party, from its convention to this moment, has taken several steps that may dent our democratic credentials as we venture into the third decade of our uninterrupted democracy,” he said.
“These steps, if not changed, could reverse the gains we make over time and return us back to centrist, sycophantic, patronage-driven unitary systems, a situation we must avoid at all costs in the interest of the future of Nigeria.
“Recall that I had made a similar lamentation to the APC in the run-up to the 2019 election, it appears, with this decision, the party clearly shows that only money matters in who becomes the leader of the largest black nation on earth and not other critical tenets of character required of a 21st-century leader.
“We have recorded the sum of N81,750,000.00 in private donations and N1,457,794.70 in online donations, totaling N83,207,794.70. We sincerely, immensely, and graciously thank everyone for these wonderful contributions and donations, including those who made theirs anonymously.
“We, however, request that all those who donated online and who require a refund send an email with evidence of payment on the attached document to assure you of a complete refund upon request.
“Those that made private donations, we know them, we will meet them and settle this out.
“Incidentally, if your donations are done for pursuing our course for the Presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the coming 2023 election, the battle is not over yet. Kindly do bear with us for further directives in the coming days.
“I deeply, immensely appreciate my supporters, friends, well-wishers, and the well-meaning Nigerian Youth who contributed unceasingly to this journey. We are just starting, Insha Allah.”