Senator Rochas Okorocha, a former governor of Imo State, has claimed that the All Progressives Congress raised the price of its nomination and declaration of interest forms for the presidential election to N100 million in order to finance legal proceedings and settle judgment debts.
Members of political parties, according to Okorocha, frequently forget about their party after being elected to public service.
“The issue of the cost of the forms has been a little bit controversial. On the side of the public, they think it is too high. And really, everybody will think it is too high, given the salaries of the president, the governors and others. But on the side of the party, for them, it is a way to raise money: one. Two, it is a way to remove people who are not serious in the business, who might find cheap funds and decide to go for court cases to seek injunctions and what have you. I think these are the reasons.
“But, I think this is an eye-opener, going forward. I think the idea of democracy should be amended a bit in Nigeria so that we can begin to get, actually, the persons that the people want. We would have been better to say in the next political dispensation, let everyone aspiring should let the people purchase their forms,” he said.
According to him, it will make a candidate to feel indebted to the people and the government will truly be of the people, by the people and for the people.
“It looks like it is all moneybags affairs…if you can afford it, pay. That is going to throw up a lot of people who think they could just go and buy the votes, buy the people, buy the delegates, get into power and refund themselves,” Okorocha said.
He added, “The party has a duty to run the party. The truth is that after primaries, nobody cares about the party. And as APC has litigation now, with almost N100m (judgment debts) that they owe, where will they get the money to pay? So, they think that the presidential aspirants have the capacity to mobilise resources from their friends and folks to support them; and in that case, they can make money. That is the only justifiable reason.”
Okorocha, who featured on Politics Today, a current affairs programme on Channels Television on Tuesday, noted that he had earlier informed the President Muhammadu Buhari, of his presidential ambition, however, pointed out that Buhari would not openly and unilaterally endorse anybody for the APC.
Okorocha, who is presently a member of the Senate, noted that the President would consider several factors before endorsing any of the presidential aspirants in the APC.