Fresh crisis seems to be looming in the All Progressives Congress (APC) over the failure of the ruling party to refund nomination fees to the aspirants that stepped down from various positions during the elective national convention of the party this year.
President Muhammadu Buhari had ordered the national leadership of the party to refund the aspirants the amount of funds they paid to purchase the expression of interest and nomination forms as a way of pacifying them.
However, four months after the March 26 convention and despite Naira rain into the coffers of the ruling party from the sale of expression of interest and nomination forms for both party offices and various elective positions, the Abdullahi Adamu-led leadership has remained adamant in meeting up the financial obligations.
Each of the aspirants for party offices paid amounts ranging from N20 million to N2.5 million for the expression of interest and nomination forms depending on the office they vied for.
Report had it that the party raked in over N700 million from the about 170 persons that obtained nomination forms for various party positions from that convention.
It was also learnt that over N3 billion was generated by the party from members who purchased the party’s expression of interest and nomination forms to contest for the party’s tickets for the 2023 general elections.
However, despite the huge warchest, and presidential directive, the leadership has bluntly refused to settle the affected party members, resulting in their complaining endlessly.
But more worrisome is the complaints by the secretariat staff over the epileptic payment of their salaries gradually becoming a tradition.
They complained that while the June salary was paid in the middle of July, they received their July salary only last week Friday as against the usual payment on the 25th of every month.
Another set of party members who may soon launch an attack on the National Working Committee (NWC) are those engaged to conduct screening and party primaries that produced party candidates for the 2023 general election.
The ruling party is also indebted to those members engaged at committee levels to conduct the party’s ward congresses to the National Convention.
Despite the failure to pay their allowances, there was speculations that the party is planning to slash the yet-to-be-paid allowances by 40 per cent.
Miffed by the development, one of the affected members who stepped down for one of the national vice chairmanship candidates at the Convention and also involved in the conduct of the party’s primary has complained bitterly.
“When President gave the order on March 23, one will think, the first assignment of the beneficiaries of the consensus arrangement would be to effect an immediate refund of our nomination fees, having asked us to write our bank details for refund.
“The party is buoyant. The Governor Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker Committee left huge funds, the NWC equally realised a huge amount of money running into billions of Naira. What excuse will the leadership give for this delay? When the committee (NWC) has since paid their allowances,” the aggrieved member who spoke in confidence, complained.
He added: “Individually, we applied for a refund and we have collectively sent a formal letter through the Forum of National Convention Aspirants but all have gone unattended to by the party.”
“The irony of it is that when we failed to honour a promise made to our members; when the party engaged members on sensitive assignments like the screening and conduct of primaries and the assignment was carried out, using our money, one would not expect the party to reward us with non-payment of our dues. To add salt to to injury, we learnt that the yet-to-be-paid allowances have been slashed by 40 per cent,” he complained further.
However, reacting to it, the National Vice Chairman (North West), Salihu Moh Lukman, blamed it on what he described as unfortunate internal challenges, promising it will soon be sorted out.
“It is part of the unfortunate internal challenges. Administratively, this should have been resolved long ago. For instance, in my case, about four people stepped down for me and they have been talking to me.
“I have been drawing the attention of the party and I think now it is clear that the party has to resolve it as quickly as possible. I can assure you that is going to happen,” Lukman assured.