2023: Suspense, as APC orders aspirants to sign ‘withdrawal letter’

Ahead of next week’s deadline for sale of nomination forms of the All Progressives Congress (APC), there is growing apprehension in the ruling party over a controversial Form 18 ‘Letter of Withdrawal’ attached to the Expression of Interest and Nomination forms sold to aspirants to fill and submit along with other forms and their credentials.

The withdrawal letter addressed to the National Chairman of the party, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, must also be signed before a Commissioner of Oath/Public Notary before submission.

Tagged ‘Form 18’, it states that: “I hereby voluntarily withdraw my candidacy from the contest. My withdrawal is in the best interest of our great party, the All Progressives Congress”.

It was gathered that some of the aspirants are not comfortable with appending their signatures to the letter, which they consider a bobby-trap to force consensus option on them.

Party sources told newsmen that about three presidential aspirants 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, which makes it legal.

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.

Another source said it is only political appointees that could sign such a form, because their appointment is at the mercy of the President or governor, but not an aspirant.

A party source described the withdrawal letter as an indemnity to prevent members from taking legal action against the party.

When contacted last night, the National Secretary of the party, Senator Iyiola Omisore, said filling out the controversial form is optional, as the party has not decided on which option to use in picking its candidates.

Explaining why the ruling party inserted a withdrawal sheet for aspirants that procured nomination and expression of interest forms, APC’s National Publicity Secretary, Felix Morka, in a chat with newsmen, argued that the measure was in tandem with the party’s constitution and the Electoral Amendment Act 2022.

He explained that aspirants are obliged to fill out the withdrawal sheet if they decide to withdraw from the race of their own volition.

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