On September 11, 2018, at the Aso Villa, the seat of Nigeria’s Presidency presided over by President Mohammadu Buhari , the All Peoples Congress(APC) presidential nomination and expression of interest form was presented to him by a support group, going by the name, Nigeria Consolidation Ambassadors Network.
The form purchased by this relatively unknown group at a princely sum of 45 million reportedly sparked outraged, with many calling Mr President’s commitment to the war against corruption to question. And of course Mr Buhari’s spin machine went full throttle in defense of the gift of the high priced presidential nomination form, one of the key eligibility requirement to become APC candidate to contest the 2019 presidential poll.
According to Director of Media, Buhari Campaign Organization, Mr Festus Keyamo, a lawyer of note, “some mischievous persons are reading S. 91(9) of the Electoral Act upside down. The section limits CASH(not material) donations in respect of CANDIDATES to 1m . PMB is not a CANDIDATE.
“He’s is an aspiring ASPIRANT. He becomes an ASPIRANT only when he submits his form to his party” Mr kayemo stressed.
Mr Kayemo’s position comes on the heels of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) finger pointing of the purchase of the nomination as corrupt practices and a violation of Nigeria’s Electoral Act limiting campaign donation and expenditure to a certain threshold.
The PDP spokesperson, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan urged Nigeria’s electoral umpire , the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) to note that the , “purchase of the N45million form by a group directly violates section 91(9) of the Electoral Act which provides that, “no individual or other entity shall donate more than one million naira(N1,000,000) to any candidate”
While HUHU joins good citizens and friends of Nigeria to hope for free, fair and credible electoral outcome come 2019, it is however concerned about the shenanigans by key players and its potential to do injury to the process, and by extension short change the long suffering people of Nigeria, who has borne the brunt of decades of misgovernance.
It is even more significant that, all goes and ends well for the Nigerian poll, given the hope, resources and energies so far invested in the process by diaspora Nigerians and the international community. Nigeria cannot afford to fail.
HUHU however views with concerns, the fact that, those who purportedly bought the nomination form for Mr Buhari, reportedly in his early seventies, are vibrant and indeed young Nigerians, with ages ranging between 30 to 50 years.
If the photo opportunity of the handover of the nomination form event is anything to go by, then the question must be asked, what happens to the “Not Too Young To Run Bill “recently assented to by Mr Buhari with so much fanfare. Or does the energies , resources and debates that finally birthed the Bill to become operational a fluke.
HUHU therefore views the purchase of the nomination form for Mr Buhari as not only an abdication of responsibility by the Nigerian youths to step up to the plate and take charge through the instrumentality of the Not Too Young Bill, but represents a vote of no confidence on the promoters of that lofty bill.
While debates about the legality of the purchase and presentation of the nomination form raged, HUHU noted that, the debate was undergirded by questions about the source of income of members of the support group, variously described as “ shadowy” from which the pricey sum of 45 million naira was raised.
HUHU is concerned that, nothing or no precedence is known about the members or donors of this huge sum. Even though if no law is breached by the act itself, it would have been most welcome for the defenders of Mr Buhari to shed some light on the members of the group and leave Nigerians and indeed the electorates to determine whether they could entrust their mandate to a man, whose nomination form was purchased by other people.
It is indeed not too much to demand such transparency from a president who claims to be for nobody, but for everybody. Of course this demands become more glaring , in the understanding of Nigeria’s political firmaments where the good of the commonwealth have often been sacrificed at the alter of political sponsorship or godfatheismr, as the popular Nigerian political lexicon goes.
Even more tragic in the view of HUHU is the fact that, the N45 million spent to purchase Mr Buhari’s nomination form would have been more useful to purchase atleast two governorship nomination forms, at least four senatorial nomination forms, and a handful of Federal and State Constituencies nomination forms for aspiring youths.
Contestation for political power has never been easy and the grave yard of political history is replete with tombstones of those whose political death was as a result of supping with the devil with a short spoon. Even in advanced democracies, the fight for generational shift was hard, long and uncompromising, talkless of the Nigerian political clime, where the older generation sees politics as a retirement past time.
HUHU urges Nigerian youths to wake up and stop the deadly romance with a generation bent on perpetuating themselves in power and only interested in maximizing the energies of the youths to build their political nest.
HUHU observes with interest that, about 57% of entries on the Nigeria voter register are between the ages of 20 to 50 years, meaning the availability of ready make voting strength to bring the change about they want to see. But most regrettably, majority of the Campaign strategists for the old generations politicians fall within the same age bracket as indicated above.
The apparent failure of Nigerian youths to take advantage of these overwhelming indices already in their favour obviously call to question their readiness to take over political power. Again the question to ask is what Now.
The saying that victory or success happens when preparation meets opportunity is not only apt but bears some deep reflecting on what is obviously the missing link in walking the talk of the Not Too Young To Run campaign.
As usual, HUHU observes the glaring absent of a clear cut agenda and strategic initiative in delivering on the Not Too Young To Run campaign, as a major problem.
It is therefore obvious that, ownership of this campaign , as well as realization of the power they hold to change the course of history needs to be reinforced . Not only that, Nigerian youths must realize that, they need to have a clear and dogged focus of wresting power from the present generation of leaders, not by unduly patronizing them by such acts as buying nomination forms for Mr Buhari,. That is definitely not the way to go.
HUHU therefore calls on Nigerian youths to reassess their strategies if any, of becoming relevant in the political space , throw their weight wholeheartedly into the fight and close their ranks, if truly they mean it, when they say they are not young to run.
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