Consequent upon the attachment of a ‘withdrawal letter’ tagged ‘Form 18’ on the nomination forms of the All Progressives Congress (APC), sold to aspirants to fill and submit along with other forms and their credentials, aspirants under the ruling APC are considering the controversial Form 18 – ‘Letter of Withdrawal’ as a trap that must be avoided by all aspirants.
Although the deadline for sale of nomination forms of APC is next week, there remains a growing apprehension amongst the party’s membership over the controversial Form 18, addressed to the National Chairman of the party, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, which must also be signed before a Commissioner of Oath/Public Notary before submission.
Based on the foregoing, aspirants therefore considered appending their signatures on the letter, uncomfortable because it is considered again, a big trap “to force a consensus option on them.”
APC National Chairman Abdullahi Adamu
According to a source within the APC, about three (3) presidential aspirants within the party from the South, have approached their legal teams for the “interpretation and implication of signing the Withdrawal Form in the presence of a Commissioner of Oath,” to make it legal.
The source also said, “While two aspirants are still waiting for the positions of their legal teams, the other was said to have vowed not to sign such a form and will exclude the controversial ‘Form 18’ from other documents to be returned to the National Secretariat of the party for submission.”
For another aspirant, who has also purchased the nomination form, “This is the first time we are seeing this kind of form for aspirants and we see it as an attempt to enforce consensus option through the back door. This is unconstitutional.
“Signing that letter means the party leaders can impose any candidate and you will not have any right to challenge them in court.
“Something is fishy and we must be very careful because there are surreptitious moves not to allow delegates to decide the fate of aspirants.”
Other aspirants are also saying that it is only political appointees that can sign such a form, because their appointment is at the mercy of the President or governor who appointed them, but not for an aspirant who bought the nomination form with his/her money.
Besides, an aggrieved party source described the withdrawal letter as “an indemnity to prevent members from taking legal action against the party” with different legal advisers warning aspirants to be careful signing the letter, because it is an attempt to ‘box aspirants’ and this has grave implications.
A political party cannot “approbate and reprobate,” at the same time; legal experts opined.
According to APC’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Felix Morka, in a chat with the Guardian, while referring to the ‘Withdrawal Letter’ tagged ‘Form 18’, said,
“Yes, the sheet is part of the form. Our constitution and the Electoral Act recognized three modes for the election of our candidates direct, indirect and consensus.
“Now, the aspirants are not required as they complete the form to fill that page. The page is there only for those who decide at some point to withdraw from the race.”