The Peoples Democratic Party has realised at least N9.24bn since it began selling nomination and expression of interest forms for various elective offices on March 17, 2022, Saturday PUNCH has learned.
Our correspondent also gathered that at least 3,132 forms had been sold to presidential, governorship, senatorial, House of Representatives and state Houses of Assembly aspirants.
Out of these, only 199 are women, making a measly 6.36 per cent of aspirants, who have so far obtained forms.
Recall that the main opposition party, after its 95th National Executive Committee meeting on Wednesday, March 16, 2022, declared that it would begin selling forms the next day.
The National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, who disclosed this to journalists at the party’s Wadata Plaza secretariat at the time, also revealed that presidential and governorship forms would go for N40m and N21m, respectively.
According to him, the fees for expression of interest and nomination forms are as follows:
“State House of Assembly: Expression of interest, N100,000; nomination form, N500,000. House of Representatives: Expression of interest, N500,000; nomination form, N2,000,000.
“Senate: Expression of interest, N500,000; nomination form, N3,000,000. Governorship: Expression of interest, N1,000,000; nomination form, N20,000,000.
“President: Expression of interest, N5,000,000; nomination form, N35,000,000.”
So far, 16 aspirants have expressed interest in the party’s presidential ticket. They include governors Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State; Nyesom Wike, Rivers State; Bala Mohammed, Bauchi State; and Udom Emmanuel, Akwa Ibom State; as well as investment banker and economist, Mohammed Hayatu-Deen; former governors of Anambra and Ekiti states, Peter Obi and Ayodele Fayose; former President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria and ex-Chairman of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, Sam Ohuabunwa; a United States-based medical doctor, Nwachukwu Anakwenze; and publisher of Ovation, Dele Momodu.
The list also includes the only female in the race, Oliver Diana; former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar; former Senate President, Bukola Saraki; and former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Pius Anyim, among others.
Each of the male 15 aspirants paid the sum of N40m for the nomination and expression of interest forms, making N605m, but the only female aspirant paid half of the nomination fee that her male counterparts paid at N17.5m.
Thus, from the presidential aspirants, the party has so far raked in N622.5m.
At the governorship level, 168 aspirants, including seven females, have obtained forms totalling N3.458bn. This is made up of N168m for the expression of interest, N3.22bn for the 161 male aspirants and N70m for the female aspirants.
A total of 301 aspirants have so far obtained forms for the senatorial seats across the 109 districts represented in the upper legislative chamber. These consist of 282 men, who paid 846m for the nomination form; and 19 women, who paid N28.5m. Both groups of aspirants parted with N150.5m for the expression of interest form, thus making a total of N1.025bn.
For the House of Representatives, 1,218 aspirants have obtained forms and paid N609m for the expression of interest, while 1,117 men and 101 women paid N2.234bn and N101m for the nomination form. The total amount realised from the aspirants stood at N2.944bn.
The sale of state Houses of Assembly form generated a total of N839.65m for the PDP from 1,429 aspirants, who paid N142.9m for the expression of interest, while the 1,358 male aspirants cough out N679m and the 71 aspiring female lawmakers parted with N17.75m for the nomination form.
A source told our correspondent on Friday that the high display of interest for the elective positions necessitated the extension of the deadline for the sale of forms twice in the space of three weeks.
In its first announcement in the middle March, the PDP said it would stop selling forms on April 1, 2022. That date was later shifted by another week to Friday, April 8.
On Thursday, April 7, however, the party further extended the closing dates for the purchase and submission of expression of interest and nomination forms until April 14 and April 17, respectively.
Under the new timelines, the last day for the purchase of all forms has been extended to Thursday, April 14, 2022, while the last day for the submission of all forms has been extended to Sunday, April 17, 2022.
From the adjusted timetable, the screening of aspirants for the various positions has been fixed thus; state Houses of Assembly, April 19, 2022; National Assembly, April 20, 2022; governorship, April 21, 2022; and presidential, April 25, 2022.
Screening appeals are scheduled as follows; state Houses of Assembly, April 21, 2022; National Assembly, April 22, 2022; governorship, April 26, 2022; and presidential, April 27, 2022.
The PDP also instructed that all duly completed state Assembly forms should be submitted at the various state secretariats of the party.
In a telephone interview with Sunday PUNCH on Friday, the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, argued that the continual extension of the deadline was not to rake in more funds for the party, but to give as many people as possible the opportunity to vie for elective offices.
He said, “We are working with the guidelines of the Independent National Electoral Commission and we are ensuring that we open this space for as many people, who want to participate in this electoral process. So, I don’t think there is anything wrong about that.
“We just adjusted our programme within the context. It is to allow for more people to participate if they want. We don’t want to close the door against anybody.”
With the adjusted deadline, it is expected that the number of aspirants will increase for the various offices.
We’re still awaiting zoning committee’s report, says PDP
Meanwhile, the party said it had not received the report of its zoning committee headed by the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom.
It also said the National Working Committee of the party would convene the National Executive Committee meeting to consider the report.
There were reports that the 37-man committee had recommended that the presidential ticket of the party be thrown open.
This made some people to condemn the recommendation.
But the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr Debo Ologunagba, told our correspondent on Saturday that the party had yet to receive the report.
“We don’t have the report yet. When we have it, we shall call the NEC meeting to look at it. As we speak, the report has yet to be submitted to us,” he stated.
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