The competition over who will run the affairs of Africa’s most populous nation is in full swing.
In Nigerian politics, money talks, and this time very loudly, especially for aspirants to the ruling All-Progressive Congress (APC).
On Wednesday, APC spokesperson Felix Morka announced that the cost of the expression of interest and presidential nomination forms was N30 million and N70 million respectively, making a total of N100 million. naira.
Morka made the revelation at the end of the National Executive Committee (NEC) emergency meeting in Abuja attended by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The APC presidential candidates seeking to replace the incumbent include former Lagos Governor Bola Tinubu, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Minister of Transport Rotimi Amaechi and Minister of Labor and Productivity, Chris Ngige.
The others are Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, his Ebonyi counterpart Dave Umahi, former Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha, former Senate Speaker Ken Nnamani and the former Governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu.
While there is no doubt that the vast majority of the aforementioned aspirants will be eager to purchase the form, the question is where will the money come from and why are the applicants willing to invest so much money in a project? which they are not sure.
The Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Taxation Commission is empowered by law to set the benchmark salary for political office holders.
Since the last review in 2007, the Commission had tried in 2009 and 2015 to review the package to no avail.
A review is currently underway, but publicly available data obtained from the commission’s website shows that the total salary for the position of Chairman stands at 14.058 million naira per year or 1.171 million naira per month, which which is about 112.46 million naira in 8 years.
For Vice President, he earns 12.126 million Naira per year or 1.01 million Naira per month which is a total payout over 4 years of 48 million Naira or 97 million Naira salary in 8 years.
Since it is difficult to determine the wealth and assets of the aspirants in the context, we will use the latest civil service to calculate the financial cost of collecting the N100 million APC nomination form.
The current Vice President of Nigeria, according to RMFAC, earns a salary of N12.126 million per year or N1.01 million per month.
This means that Osinbajo in the last seven years as Vice President would have earned N84.8m in salary which is not enough for the APC nomination form of N100m.
From 1999 to 2007, Tinubu served as Governor of Lagos State and it was unclear how much he earned.
RMFAC data reviewed in 2009 shows a salary of 7.78 million naira for a sitting governor, which equates to around 648,580 naira per month.
This means that if Tinubu had earned the stated salary for 8 years, which is approximately 62.2 million naira, it would mean a 38 million naira shot of the APC nomination form of 100 million naira.
Rotimi Amaechi and Chris Ngige
Amaechi, as a two-term governor, earned 7.78 million naira a year, or 62.2 million naira.
As a member of the House of Assembly, it is estimated that he earned around 2.47 million naira (19 million naira over the 8-year period)
For the past seven years, Ameachi has served as a minister. RMFAC data shows that he earns about 7.80 million naira per year or 650,136 naira per month. In 2018, however, he disclosed that he was earning N950,000 per month.
Giving a breakdown, he said, “A minister only earns 950,000 naira a month. Of this money, N350,000 is for accommodation, so there is no more money given to you. The remaining N600,000 includes payment for your staff, personal assistants and all that.
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Should we take our word for it, N950,000 per month adds up to N7.98 million/year. For Ngige, who is also a minister under the administration of President Buhari, he would have received the same salary with Amaechi for the past seven years.
Bello has served as Governor of Kogi State since 2016. According to RMFAC data, his annual salary is N7.78 million.
This means that since taking office, Yaya Bello would have earned N46.6 million, which is N46 million less than the APC nomination form of N100 million.
He is currently the Governor of Ebonyi State and has held this position since 2015. During this period, he has received a total salary of N54.4 million to date.
As the former Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha received N62.2 million in salary for his 8-year tenure.
Currently, he is a senator and receives an annual payment of N12.76 million. So far, he has received a total payout of N25.52 million after being elected as a senator since June 2019.
His total earnings as governor, combined with what he received as a senator, are not enough to pay for the presidential form of the CPA.
Ken Nnamani and Orji Uzor Kalu
Ken Nnamani and former Abia State Governor Orji Uzor Kalu have also declared their intention to run for Nigeria’s top seat.
The above calculations provide a metric showing that what they both received as political office holders cannot pay for their presidential form.
The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has called on the EFCC and ICPC to probe the source of wealth of any presidential candidate who chooses the APC presidential nomination and forms of expression of interest.
The group said only corrupt politicians could afford so much for a nomination form.
“Anyone who purchases the nomination form at such an outrageous amount should be arrested and handed over to law enforcement agencies such as the EFCC or ICPC or the Nigerian Police to investigate the source of the money,” HURIWA said. .
He further added, “We have just finished mocking the opposition PDP for bastardizing their presidential candidate nomination process by inflating the cost of their nomination form to ₦40m, we Little did we know that the politicians who run the federal government and have ruined the national economy will peg themselves at the exorbitant price of ₦100 million.
“This same APC government is unable to meet federal university funding obligations and has thus left millions of public school students wandering home due to the industrial strike by university professors for more than two month.
“It is a pity that those who seek to govern Nigeria are forced to shell out so much money to buy forms just to signal their original intent as people whose sole purpose would be first to recoup their huge investments and further impoverish the citizens”.
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