The former National Vice Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr Salihu Lukman says President Bola Ahmed Tinubu may have spent N100 billion to clinch the exalted seat of the presidency in the 2023 poll.…CONTINUE READING
Lukman in a piece titled: “Resolving APC’s Progressive Retrogression” also alleged that the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Sen Godswill Akpabio and Dr Tajudeen Abass may have spend not less than N50 billion each to garner the support required to occupy their seats.
The Kaduna born politician further claimed that APC Governorship candidates for 2023 elections must have spent not less than N10 Billion to win their elections.
He argued that the high cost of winning elections is enough to weaken the bond between elected leaders and other party leaders, which may have created the problems of accessibility to those occupying elective seats in the country.
He contended that so long as elected leaders, especially President Asiwaju Tinubu, are inaccessible to other party leaders, the prospect of returning APC to its founding vision of emerging as a progressive party will continue to diminish.
Lukman who was the director general of the progressives governors forum (PGF) claimed that APC virtually has been taken over by whatever was the peoples democratic party (PDP), and all its negative values including money politics.
“As things are, we must be honest, Nigerian politics cannot continue the way it is today. Many Nigerians, especially APC members, expected that doing away with money politics is one of the changes APC will bring about,” he lamented.
“Unfortunately, things have progressively got worse. Sadly too, because structures of the party are not functioning, there is no avenue to deliberate all these and make proposals. APC is progressively losing even the little democratic credentials, which in 2015 encouraged Nigerians to expect the possibility of a progressive party emerging out of it.”
Reminiscing how money politics played a key role in the emergence of President Tinubu and other public office holders, he said: “In the case of the 2015 general elections, it is most likely that many of those who emerged as the Governorship candidates for APC and won the party primary may have succeeded with far less than One Billion Naira (N1 billion). Although many would imagine such a cost as outrageous, this is most likely to be a very conservative estimate.
” There are states such as Lagos, Rivers, Delta and Akwa Ibom, which may have cost far above Two Billion Naira (N2 billion) to win the Governorship Primary in 2015. Like the case of cost of nomination forms, the cost certainly increased in 2019 and 2023 substantial.
“In fact, the most disturbing reality was more reflected in the case APC Presidential primary. While in 2015, we had one of the excellent models of producing a Presidential candidate in the person of former President Muhammadu Buhari who wasn’t a moneybag, and therefore had to rely on the generosity of fellow party leaders and well-wishers to finance the campaign for his primary election in both 2015 and 2019, in 2023 the reverse completely happened as all those who aspired and contested for the APC Presidential primary, including President Asiwaju Tinubu shouldered all the financial burden for their primary campaign.
“To that extent, it is possible that President Asiwaju Tinubu may have incurred not less than Fifty Billion Naira (N50 billion) to win the APC Presidential primary and emerged as the party’s presidential candidate.
“After incurring such huge personal expenditure with almost zero contributions from other party leaders, President Asiwaju Tinubu had to also shoulder almost all the cost of the 2023 Presidential election with very negligible contributions from the APC and other leaders, if at all.
“Certainly, inclusive of the cost of winning the Presidential primary, winning the 2023 Presidential elections may have cost President Asiwaju Tinubu upward of One Hundred Billion Naira (N100 Billion). By every standard, this is very outrageous and alarming. Cascading it down to Governors, it would have cost each of the APC Governorship candidates for 2023 elections not less than Ten Billion (N10 Billion) to win the elections.
“How a party envisioned to be progressive would be degraded to money politics is quite worrisome. Partly because money politics took over internal party contest during the 2023 elections, contest for the leadership of the 10th National Assembly became driven by money politics too.
” It may have cost both Sen. Godswill Akpabio and Rt. Hon. Abbas Tajudeen nothing less than Fifty Billion Naira (N50 Billion) each to win the contest for Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives.
“What this simply means is that for any person to contemplate aspiring for President of the Federal Republic or Governor of any state, the person must have impossible amount of money running into hundreds of billions. How many Nigerians can afford this from legitimate earning?
“How is APC going to address this disturbing reality? Or will APC simply turn a blind eye to such a troubling reality? Is this a problem, which President Asiwaju Tinubu want to address during the tenure of his leadership? Or is he going to ignore it since he can afford it?”
Continuing, he noted: “How is the leadership of President Asiwaju Tinubu going to be different? Like during the tenure of former President Buhari, will APC structures remain frozen under the leadership of President Asiwaju Tinubu? If APC structures remained frozen, how can APC become a progressive party?
” What does being a progressive party means to APC leaders and President Asiwaju Tinubu? Will being a progressive party minimise money politics? How can that be achieved? Minimising money politics will require putting in place comprehensive funding strategy for all activities of the party, including electoral contest.
“So long as aspirants and candidates are required to bear all the financial burden of winning elections, the extent of being successful may not include transforming APC into a progressive party, which is the primary source of APC’s electoral advantage.
“It is the hope of many APC leaders and members that President Asiwaju Tinubu will prioritise decisions to return the party to its founding vision of becoming a progressive party. We are confident, he has everything it requires to take every necessary decision.
” It is in his enlightened electoral interest to so and in the national interest too. Nigerians are desirous of a party that can make access possible to elected leaders, including the President, for other fellow party leaders. Nigerian democracy must resolve the challenge of astronomical cost of winning elections by aspirants and candidates.
” Will President Asiwaju Tinubu prioritise all these as part of what he wants to achieve during his tenure as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria? May the success of President Asiwaju Tinubu’s leadership also produce a truly progressive APC.”
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