Nigerian Ruling Party Presidential Fund-Raising: Presidency, Opposition Bicker Over N21bn

The Presidency and groups backing the presidential aspiration of Major General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) were at each other’s throats, yesterday, over the sum of N21.27bn raised at the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential campaign fund-raising dinner.

The Buhari Support Organizations, BSO, the umbrella body of all support groups for the Presidential candidate of All Progressives Congress, APC in 2015 election, said that the power sector in Nigeria has turned worse under President Goodluck Jonathan, adding that PDP fund-raising gathering should have devoted itself to finding a solution to the problem.

Countering, the Presidency said the suggestion that the money raised at the PDP fund-raising dinner be used to fund national power projects portrays the APC party as an unserious, unfocused and defective organisation with no reasonable alternative solutions to the nation’s problems.

The exchanges came as some eminent Nigerians flayed the fund-raising, saying that it was insensitive, given the prevailing austerity in the country.

PDP has failed Nigerians—APC

Commenting on the fund raising, the Lagos State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), said the PDP has failed Nigerians.

Its Publicity Secretary, Mr Joe Igbokwe said: “How much did they raise to fight Boko Haram? How much money did they raise to fight unemployment? How much money did those people raise to build security architecture in Nigeria? How much money did they raise to build our schools and hospitals? How much money did they raise to build our roads? I can ask you 20 questions about this money; they are just bringing out the missing $20 billion about which the Emir of Kano complained as former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN. Where will  someone get N5 billion from? If you give Nigerians all the money in the world, we will not get to the moon because it takes expertise. In the same vein, give PDP all the money in the world, it cannot win the 2015 general elections.

APC, Buhari’s comments, display of ignorance – Presidency

However, the Presidency described the comment as a display of ignorance. Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, in a statement yesterday, said: “Even though we have always known them to be a party with no clear direction, we never thought they could descend so low in exhibiting clear mischief and folly on a critical national issue.

“We wish to reiterate that this government and the PDP will not engage in a dubious practice of collecting money from private individuals and corporate organisations for a purpose only to divert such money to other purposes.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the power reform programme initiated by President Jonathan is not run on a knee-jerk finance arrangement. It is a properly envisioned road map which is being diligently executed in line with best global practices. The power reform programme is being funded through our national budgets and  foreign direct investments running into several billions of dollars.

“Reputable global players such as the General Electric is investing over a billion dollars into the generation component of the sector. Nigeria is not a beggar nation and it will not be one under the Jonathan presidency.

“The suggestion that the N21 billion (105 million dollars) raised at the party fund raising dinner be used for the power project underscores the perplexing ignorance of General Muhammadu Buhari and his team of party voyagers who have shown that they have absolutely no clue about what it requires to implement a modern revolutionary programme in a capital intensive sector such as power.

“Finally,the accusation that the PDP governors who donated money at the event have not paid civil servants salaries in their states is largely untrue and mischievous.

“We want to believe that the APC probably has one of its governors in mind when it made this accusation because it is on record that despite being the major financier of the Buhari campaign, this is the governor who has not paid 13,000 teachers their salaries in the last eight months!”

Nigerian power worse off under Jonathan –Buhari

The BSO in a statement by its Head, Media and Publicity Unit, Dr. Chidia Maduekwe said: “The power sector featured proudly two days ago in contributing towards President Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election campaign fund raising. I would have thought such funds should have been better deployed in giving Nigerians better light supply this Christmas season.

“The ordinary Nigerian on the street knows that he or she is not better off today with stable electricity as against four years ago when Jonathan mounted the saddle.
“Most people will admit that they had better stable supply of electricity four years ago. The Jonathan administration had projected that 10,000MW should be generated before now.

“General Muhammadu Buhari and indeed the Nigeria public is right to question why we are still in this epileptic mess of electricity supply after sinking well over $20 billion into the power sector over the period in question. The corruption -infested administration of Jonathan makes right thinking Nigerians to bury their heads in shame when compared to South Africa of just 50 million people and has an estimated supply of over 50,000 MW.”

It’s more of camouflage  —Sagay

Constitutional lawyer, Professor Itse Sagay (SAN) described the fund raising campaign as more of a camouflage. Sagay, who lamented the development said it is a set back for the country.

His words: “You know members of the PDP have all our resources under their control, they can go for any fund raising. But for me, it is all more of a camouflage because they already have the state money at their disposal. We have a very serious problem in this country where the government in power tries to plough into the state’s resources for party campaigns. Legally there is a law but it is neither observed nor enforced; these are reforms that affect conduct and culture which will have to be enforced in future if we have to develop. For me, the N21 billion is not actually what they are going to spend. I see it as a public show, that is not the real thing.”

PDP is desperate about winning —Tsav

Also speaking, a former Lagos State Commissioner of Police,  Alhaji Abubakar Tsav, said: ‘’There are so many states that have not paid salaries to their workers, yet these governors are donating money to Jonathan’s re-election campaign. It is a very sad development and it shows the desperation of the PDP towards wining the presidential elections. That is the mentality of those who want to win at all costs.”
The former Police boss lamented that “our people are suffering, the healthcare system across the states is not in a good state, people don’t have money to pay medical bills, yet the governors are wasting money. For the businessmen who donated to that cause, the fear of Buhari might have informed their decision because with Buhari as President, it would not be business as usual. Jonathan has completely failed and people are shamelessly encouraging him to continue in 2015. If he is eventually re-elected, he will do the worse.”

Our elections ‘re becoming too expensive  –Ikokwu

Reacting to the issue, Second Republic Politician and a chieftain of the defunct National Democratic Coalition, Chief Guy Ikokwu, who said that the amount raised was huge, lamented that elections were becoming increasingly expensive in the country.

His words: “It is very clear today that elections in Nigeria are becoming more expensive. The PDP and APC are already raising billions of naira for the election at a time the economy is struggling and facing diminishing returns because of the petroleum price crisis.

“Now, the parties, politicians and candidates should base their campaigns for the 2015 elections on issues instead of personalities. Systemic failure is the problem of the country. The presidential system is based on autocracy. Most of our governors are autocratic. The present presidential system will not take Nigeria far.”

Source: Vanguard
Politics 911660873686014442

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