‘Expensive forms have overly monetised our politics and would affect its quality’

Princess Olufunmilayo Adesanya-Davies

Princess Olufunmilayo Adesanya-Davies is a Professor of Language and Communication Arts at the Rivers State University of Education and is aspiring to be President of Nigeria, come 2019. When declaring this year, she didn’t disclose the party she intended to run under but has now come out to tell TOBI AWODIPE the party she intends to contest under, dumping the PDP and how the high cost of nomination and interest forms have schemed out many women from contesting elections

Are you still under the PDP? Also, have you gotten your presidential nomination and expression of interest forms?

I QUIT the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to join the Mass Action Joint Alliance (MAJA) Party just one month before the massive defection from the All Progressives Congress, APC to PDP as I foresaw the tsunami of defection coming.

Of course now as we all know, the PDP has about 13 presidential aspirants.

I took this step because I knew it was time for me to move from being an aspirant to candidature with great support of youths and women on my side, if the gender agenda is to be realised and translated into reality in line with the active roles of women and the daring Nigerian students and youths, who have been giving me unrelenting support.

I have purchased my forms under the MAJA Party and we are part of the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP).

The nomination and expression of interest forms stand at almost N15 million for your former party; in your opinion, considering the economic capacity of most Nigerian women, do you think this price is fair?

The price is more than that please.

The price for the presidential aspirants of APC, which was the highest, finally stood at N45 million from N55 million and this was only after so much persuasion of the ruling party by many Nigerians.

It’s so sad and unfortunate, as many less privileged Nigerians cannot afford these staggering fees.

Yet the Buhari government is supposed to be fighting corruption with such unfair stance bearing in mind the current economic situation.

Do you think this factor is discouraging many women from actively participating in politics?

Certainly yes, the prices are outrageous, especially for the women in APC. I learnt on good authority that a team of APC women have written a protest letter. 

In your opinion, how does this play out on the ‘Not Too Young To Run Bill’, considering that young women may be shafted out?

It is quite a contradiction to the Not Too Young To Run Bill.

The youth certainly cannot afford such alarming fees. It is quite discouraging, rather disturbing and disheartening, many young women can’t run again.

A lot of women that had political ambitions have been discouraged by the high cost.

You said you’re currently under MAJA and CUPP, how will this help your ambition?

Also, when a candidate is picked, under which party will he\she run and who is responsible for the ticket?

Yes, I am currently under MAJA & CUPP.

Any individual candidate who emerges under the 39 parties primaries will have to re-contest under CUPP for the presidential election, and that is okay by me; it is in line with my vision and ambition.

First, I will evolve as MAJA’s flag-bearer, then as the CUPP’s flag-bearer, of course as the only Female Northern ticket.

The probability is very high as I am the only female from the North.

The question as to “under which party will he\she run and who is responsible for the ticket?” would be fully answered by CUPP.

You said you’re the candidate for MAJA, how much is the ticket and does this mean you’re the candidate for CUPP as well? 

Actually, I will emerge as the candidate for MAJA after the primaries as I’m currently the single consensus candidate of MAJA by the grace of God.

Again, MAJA has also offered free political platform for all Nigerian Youths on 30th of April 2019, as the news line would read, “Nigerian youths have been offered a free platform by one of the newly registered parties to achieve their political aspirations.”

MAJA is one of the parties with lowest price as nomination form is N6million for the presidential ticket and the expression of interest form stands at N1million.

As for the CUPP, it’s made up 39 parties, so that hurdle is yet to be crossed.

Elections are very expensive in Nigeria, how do you intend to fund this campaign?
 
Yes it is and I intend to fund it from my personal savings and little sacrifices from average Nigerians and goodwill in cash and kind.

It is from people who believe in the vision and my mission and mandate like you.

I am closer to the average Nigerian than the rich ones as a lecturer.

Again, I have only one backer, the Almighty God the Father who called me and cannot fail me. No man can say he is, so far.

With the high cost of forms, do you agree that politics has become overly monetised? 

Definitely and once again, I say this is quite unfair and it will bear on the quality of our polity.

We even learnt that some of the rich purchased double tickets, as it has become the game for the rich mainly. 
Are the poor but honest Nigerian women not being effectively schemed out?

Yes, they sure are, but not only poor, honest, hardworking Nigerian women are being schemed out, even the men are as well.

What do you think can be done differently and what would you do different if you had the opportunity to influence things?

On this issue of monetised election process, I will fix the price as the same for all parties and I will lower it to the barest minimum in the interest of the average poor, honest, hardworking and intelligent Nigerian who is keen to contest, if given the opportunity. 

Generally speaking, as regards Voters Card, there would be alternatives such as Driving License, International Passports and so on as are presently acceptable in banks. 

Lastly, I will link the voters card with the National I.D cards and BVN, such that if you’re 18 years and you don’t have either of these two cards, there would be no voting for such persons.

National I.D cards and BVN are enough as voter’s identity as far as I’m concerned.

No further budget, time- wasting and stressful cumbersome processes as time has shown these processes to be ways of enriching a few and unnecessarily tiring for the masses.

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