by crossriverwatch admin
Some members of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Cross River have decried the high fees being charged by the party for nomination forms for election into party offices.
The positions range from those at the Wards, Local Government and States executives.
A cross section of the party faithful made their feelings known in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Calabar.
They said the fees charged for the forms were beyond the reach of many party members who planned to aspire to various positions in the party.
Mr Etim Bassey from Calabar South told NAN that, he wanted to vie for the position of the party’s local government chairman but decided to shelve the idea because he could not raise the N25, 000 non-refundable fee being charged by the party.
“Honestly the amount is too much for me. I was expecting something less than that. I may just pledge my support to someone else,’’ he said.
Another party member from Calabar municipality, Mr Ekeng Eyo, said he had the ambition of contesting for membership of the state executive but was yet to purchase the form.
Eyo said he might give up the ambition if he failed to raise the required N30, 000 to purchase the form.
“I would have loved to go to the state exco but as it is now it may be difficult for me to pay N30, 000 for
the form,’’ he said.
Under the guidelines for the conduct of the congresses, released by the national secretariat of the party, aspirants to the office of the state chairman are expected to pay N100, 000.
Aspirants for other positions of state exco should pay N30, 000, local government chairman N25, 000; local government exco N10, 000; ward chairman N10, 000 and ward exco N2000.
However, female aspirants would enjoy 50 per cent rebate for all positions.
An APC chieftain, Mr Ephraim Asuquo also said that most members of the party in the state could not afford the money.
Also speaking, former chairman of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria in the state, Mr Cletus Obun said the charges were “elitist and unfair to democracy’’.
He said that serving in party positions should be seen as a service, therefore, making people to pay so much for such service would be counter-productive.
“It is elitist; it is dangerous for democracy for people to pay so much to serve the party; it is counter-productive.” Obun said.
In his reaction, a member of the State Harmonisation Committee, Mr Hillard Eta told NAN that the leadership of the party in the state was aware of the complaints.
“I am aware that Cross Riverians are complaining very seriously about the cost of nomination forms, especially in the rural areas.
“I want to say that the generality of the leadership in Cross River is very concerned about this high cost of nomination forms.
“If APC is a party for the people then we must have to take the people into consideration, ‘’ Eta said.
He however, said that inspite of the high cost of nomination forms, the members were in high spirit for the exercise.
“But in all, apart from the financial implications, members of the party in Cross River are quite ready for the congresses.
“We are trying to make sure that APC can give Cross Riverians a kind of alternative choice to the ruling PDP in subsequent elections.” (NAN)
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