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Politics of Monday, 15 August 2022

Source: www.thenationonlineng.net

Anger in APC over non-refund of nomination fees

All Progressives Congress (APC) All Progressives Congress (APC)

Four months after President Muhammadu Buhari ordered a refund of nomination fees to aspirants who stepped down during the All Progressives Congress (APC) March 26 consensus National Convention, the party is yet to comply.

Investigations also showed that the party is indebted to members engaged to conduct the congresses (ward to the National Convention) ahead of the 2023 general elections.

The party, in the last two months, has also failed in the payment of staff salary as at when due. June salary was paid mid July and workers only received their July pay last Friday, as against payment on the 25th of every month.

President Buhari, at March 24 meeting with eight national chairmanship aspirants, persuaded them to step down for a consensus candidate, with a promise to refund their nomination fees.

Each aspirant for party offices paid between N20 and N2.5 million for the expression of interest and nomination forms, depending on the office contested for. Investigations showed that the party raked in over N700 million from about 170 persons.

It was also learnt that the party generated over N3 billion from members who purchased the expression of interest and nomination forms to contest for tickets ahead if the 2023 general elections.

But despite the huge receipts, affected party members are complaining about the non-compliance with the presidential directive.

Other members who may soon launch an attack on the Senator Abdullahi Adamu-led National Working Committee (NWC) are those engaged to conduct screening and party primaries that produced candidates for the 2023 election.

Aside from the non-payment of their allowances, it was gathered that the members are irked by the NWC decision to slash the yet-to-be-paid allowances by 40 per cent.

An affected member who stepped down for one of the national vice chairmanship candidates, who was also involved in the conduct of primaries in the Northwest, complained bitterly.

He said: ‘When the president gave the order on March 23, one will think the first assignment of beneficiaries of the consensus arrangement would be to effect an immediate refund of our nomination fees, having asked us to write our bank details for refund.

“The party is buoyant. The Governor Buni-led Caretaker Committee left money, the NWC equally realised a huge sum, running to billions of Naira. What excuse will the NWC give for this delay? When the committee (NWC) has since paid their allowances.

“Individually we applied for a refund and we have collectively sent a formal letter through the Forum of National Convention Aspirants but all have gone unattended to. The irony of it is that when we failed to honour a promise made to our members; when the party engaged members on sensitive assignments like the screening and conduct of primaries and the assignment was carried out, using our money, one would not expect the party to honour us with non-payment of our dues. To add salt to our injury, we learnt that the yet-to-be-paid allowances have been slashed by 40 per cent.”

National Vice Chairman (Northwest) Salihu Lukman regretted the delay, but said the matter is being looked into.

“It is part of the unfortunate internal challenges. Administratively, this should have been resolved long ago. For instance, in my case, about four people stepped down for me and they have been talking to me. I have been drawing the party’s attention and I think now it is clear that the party has to resolve it as quickly as possible. I can assure you it will happen soon.”

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