The All Progressives Congress (APC) has ordered the Presidential aspirants to sign a controversial Form 18 'Letter of Withdrawal' attached to the nomination form before allowing them to submit their form.

ABUJAPRESS learnt that the APC Form 18 'Letter of Withdrawal' has been attached to the Expression of Interest and Nomination forms sold to all presidential aspirants to fill and submit along with other forms and their credentials.

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

Tagged Form 18, stated: "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.

The source gathered that about three presidential aspirants from the South have approached their legal teams for 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.

An aspirant, who has purchased the nomination form said: "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."

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.

A Lagos-based lawyer, Mr Patrick Gongou, advised aspirants to be careful in signing the letter, which he said has grave implications for their aspirations, and to enforce free and fair primary. "This is an attempt to box them into a corner. A political party cannot approbate and reprobate," he said.

But Barrister Abubakar Sani said the intention of the withdrawal letter may not be as bad as politicians are thinking, adding that it must be tested to see if it either violates the APC Constitution or the 2022 Electoral Act or the 1999 Constitution.

He said: "We should not be sentimental about it, a political party is a voluntary association, which you can join or leave at your own volition but it is good to test the withdrawal letter to know if it violates any constitution."
Axact

ANAMBRA UPDATE

Anambra Update is an independent publication, established in 2012 for the purpose of presenting balanced coverage of events, and of promoting the best interests of Anambra and Ndigbo in extention. It owes allegiance to no political party, ethnic community, religious or other interest group. Its primary commitment is to the integrity and sovereignty of the Federation of Nigeria, and beyond that to the unity and sovereignty of Igbo Social-Cultural Race

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