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2023: Presidential Aspirant Sues PDP To Court Over N40m Forms As Akpabio Says N100m For APC’s Forms Fair

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BIGPENNGR.COM reports that the development is coming at a time the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, adjudged the N100m cost of the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential forms as a fair deal.

Uzoho, a lawyer and a card-carrying member of the PDP, hinged his denial to vie for the election on the high cost of the expression of interest and nomination forms imposed on aspirants by the party.The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the party had fixed its expression of interest and nomination forms at N40 million for aspirants vying for the office of the president.The lawyer, in an originating summons marked FCT/CV/144/2022 and filed at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), sued the PDP and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as 1st and 2nd defendants respectively.

The plaintiff said that the action of the PDP setting a monetary condition as an additional qualification and criteria for aspirants was in violation of the 1999 Constitution and Section 84(3) and (4) of the Electoral Act, 2022.

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Uzoho said he was desirous of contesting for the office of the president of Nigeria in the 2023 election as a flag-bearer of the party.

In an affidavit in support of the suit, the lawyer said it was disheartening that he was denied the opportunity of actualising his aspirations.

This, he said, is on grounds that he could not submit a bank draft in the sum of N40 million, being a condition for acquiring the expression of interest and nomination forms for the party’s presidential primary election.

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He told the court that he had met all the qualifications and requirements set down by the 1999 Constitution and extant laws for participation in the presidential primary of the party for the 2023 election.

Uzoho also said that he was not caught up by any of the disqualification criteria set down in Section 137 of the 1999 Constitution.

He, however, asked the court “to determine whether having regard to Section 131 read along with Section 1(1) and (3) of the 1999 Constitution, the PDP is entitled to impose or interpose as additional qualification/s the payment of N40million, as a further qualification to seek the party’s sponsorship for election to the office of president of Nigeria.”

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The plaintiff demanded N50million as compensation for the anxiety, inconvenience and loss of valuable campaign time occasioned by the denial to participate in the presidential primary.

He also sought an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants from excluding him from the presidential primary.

He further asked for an order of injunction compelling the PDP to provide him with all the necessary facilities to ensure his participation in the party’s presidential primary election.

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No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.

Meanwhile, appearing on the TV programme, Akpabio, who declared for presidency on the platform of the APC on Thursday, said that even in the modern democracy like in America, it is not the candidate that presents himself into an election, but the people.

“So, when you talk about Nigeria, just N100 million Nigerians bringing just N1 will give you N100 million; but you are talking about millions of Nigerians who are going to cast their votes,” he said.

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When asked about how he raised money for presidential forms, Akpabio said that there was a fundraising about a month ago in Kaduna and they raised over N100 million.

“At that time I was still consulting to decide whether to run or not. I’m convinced that I’m in the position to move the present administration, the activities, the legacies and everything of the present administration to the next level. Then I assented to their request.

“Any serious presidential candidate doesn’t need to go to his bank account to get N100m because you are not the person to vote for yourself. That is why it’s provided even in the electoral act that people should also contribute to ensure fantastic campaign. When people have a buy-in, then you will always remember that you have an obligation to satisfy them.”

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Commenting on how Nigeria should best be governed in 2023, he said, “Leadership is in my DNA. Political party is always like supermarket, with people coming in and going out.

“I know people who left APC in 2019 and one week later they became presidential, senatorial or governorship candidates. So, the decision should not be there. You look at the character and the record. You don’t need to like my face, but please look at my record. If my record is  good enough, then (you) must join hands with youths and women and all those who are clamouring that God’s will should be done in 2023.”

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