Friday, April 29, 2016

How did APC fund its 2015 presidential campaign?

One of the canons of the electoral campaign promises of incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari in the lead up to the 2015 nationwide polls is anti-corruption. Nigeria has consistently been rated by many anti-corruption research institutions such as the Transparency International and Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative  as one of the most corrupt countries in the world. It is believed that monies that should have been used to tackle the huge infrastructural deficits in the country have found their ways into private pockets. The country’s ruling elites have always occupied prominent positions in international corruption scandals such as the Halliburton, Siemens, Sagem (over the national Identity Cards) and the latest Panama Papers leak.

The president on assumption of office had made no pretence about his commitment to fight this monster hence the renewed vigour by the anti-corruption agencies to investigate, arrest and prosecute past and present corrupt public office holders.  The nation is at present being regaled with tales of how the Office of the National Security Adviser under Col. Sambo Dasuki (Retd.) was turned into largess distribution centre in the lead up to the March/April 2015 General Elections. The ex-NSA and many other chieftains of the immediate past ruling party, Peoples Democratic Party, are currently being tried for corruption in the courts.  Many of the party stalwarts were alleged to have received hefty sums of monies from the former NSA office for the reelection campaign of former President Goodluck Jonathan who was ousted in a peaceful poll on March 28, 2015.

Expectedly, the leadership of the PDP is kicking against the incumbent president’s anti-corruption crusade which it claimed is lopsided and a political witch-hunt of its members.  PDP leadership alleged that while its own members were being tried for corruption, the members of the All Progressives Congress which is the new ruling party are offered blanket protection from the anti-corruption war. Apart from the party national executive  who have issued several press statements on this through its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh (who is himself undergoing trial  for corruption by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission over the huge sums he collected from office of the NSA); others whose voices have been strident in the condemnation of PMB’s anti-corruption campaign include the incumbent governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Peter Ayodele Fayose and the former Director General Of Goodluck Jonathan Media Campaign Team, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode.

The aforementioned gentlemen have severally challenged President Buhari to come clean with Nigeria public and tell them how his presidential campaign was funded? They alleged that state and administrative resources were heavily deployed by managers of the president’s campaign teams. In an article entitled, ‘The Money Transfers and the Truth about the Presidential Campaign Funds’, published in some Nigerian newspapers on Friday, April 22, 2016, Femi Fani-Kayode confessed to receiving N840m as the director of publicity during the electioneering last year, but noted that he did not know that the funds emanated from the account of the NSA at the Central Bank of Nigeria. He said inter alia, “….those that are in power today should tell us where they got their campaign funds from and how much of it came from the governments of Lagos and Rivers states.”

“The two people that headed those two state governments then are now both federal ministers today. One of them, who was the Director-General of the Buhari Campaign Organisation, was specifically indicted by a judicial commission of inquiry for using millions of dollars of state government funds to run the Buhari campaign, yet nothing happened and his reward was to be appointed as a minister.”

Fani-Kayode added, “Again what about the N5bn cash that was flown down to Port Harcourt in Rivers State from Abuja in chartered plane a couple of days before the rerun election that took place on March 19, 2016? Where did they get that amount of cash from and what was its purpose and source? “It appears that there is one law for those that are in power today and another for those that are not…. Was it a crime to fight and lose an election?” He claimed that his party, PDP, spent far less money than the APC and the Buhari Presidential Campaign Organisation because they had access to massive amounts of state government resources. “They even contracted the services of a famous American media consultant (the same one that President Obama used in 2008) and paid him $10m for his counsel and advice.”

It will be recalled that- Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State while speaking through his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, on August 5, 2015 had observed thus:  “Some of those who sponsored the President’s election have not done any other jobs apart from holding public offices. Yet, they provided private jets and funds with which the President campaigned across the length and breadth of Nigeria. He should let Nigerians know where they got money to buy private jets and the several billions of naira spent on his election” 

Indeed, it was a common knowledge that President Muhammadu Buhari did not have the financial muscle to bankroll his presidential campaign. This was a man who complained bitterly about the N27million he paid for the Expression of Interest and Nomination Form of his party. It is equally not on record that APC had any major fundraisers as the attempt to use online SMS platform to raise money for his campaign was thwarted by the National Communications Commission who stopped the mobile telecommunication companies from offering their platforms for the realisation of that fundraising initiative. Where then did monies spent on PMB’s presidential campaigns from, if not from the public treasuries of the APC State Governors and public office holders?  A sage once observed that “the law is for your enemies and the exceptions for your friends”.  Is that what EFCC is displaying now?