Former President of the Senate, Ken Nnamani, has formally joined the 2023 presidential race on the All Progressives Congress (APC) platform.
Mr Nnamani, while declaring on Friday in Abuja, lamented the high cost of the party’s nomination form.
APC recently fixed the cost of its presidential nomination and expression of interest forms at N100 million, governorship N50 million, Senate N20 million and House of Representatives N10 million.
He said costs do not align with “our social-economic realities in terms of comparative per capita income and purchasing power of Nigerians.”
The former Senate President said there was a need for a rethink on the issue in a bid to improve the inclusion of youth, women and most Nigerians who earn salaries in an economy that has become depressed.
Mr Nnamani also said there was a need for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to provide guidelines on cost of nomination form.
“Maybe it is time the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) laid down guidelines to the parties on both the cost of nominations and campaign expenses. I will back such regulatory control that will improve the fiscal responsibility and inclusive politics in Nigeria,” he said.
Despite the outrage against the exorbitant nomination fees, the ruling party continues to defend it.
The National Chairman of the party, Abdulahi Adamu, said the N100 million nomination form should not be expensive for aspirants.
He argued that if a presidential aspirant cannot raise the money, he does not have any reason being in the race.
Speaking on the clamour for South-east Presidency, Mr Nnamani, who hails from Enugu State, said the region owes Nigeria the best candidate.
He said many in the South-east as well as some legislators asked him to avail the nation “characteristic honest, competent and disciplined leadership” he offered the senate.
“I am delighted that there is a growing consensus that the next president should come from South east. I believe that the people of the South-east owe other Nigerians the reciprocal respect of bringing forth the best to lead.”
Mr Nnamani will have to contend with other aspirants from the South-east, including Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State, Rochas Okorochas, Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige, Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba.
Others from outside the region gunning for the APC presidential ticket include Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, former Governor of Lagos, Bola Tinubu, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River, and former Ogun governor, Ibikunle Amosun.
In protest against the inability of the ruling party to micro-zone the presidency to the South-east, Orji Uzor Kalu, a former governor of Abia State and serving senator, said he was considering pulling out of the race.
Plan for Nigeria
Mr Nnamani said he has the template used by leaders of South Korea and Japan for rapid economic development.
To transform the country, he stated that he will restructure Nigeria from inefficient consumption to production.
He stated that there is a need to “recover the state from the grip of despair and despondence and chart a future of hope and achievement for every Nigerian.”
Mr Nnamani was the President of the Senate from 2005 to 2007 and was instrumental in quenching the third term agenda of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Mr Nnamani joined the APC on January 22, 2017.
Last month, he lost the bid to become the National Vice Chairman (South) of the APC during the March 26 convention. He stepped down for the consensus candidate, Emma Enukwu.
On June 25, 2020, Mr Nnamani was appointed a member of the 12-member Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of the APC to represent the South-east zone.