Nigerians have expressed outrage over
the N21.27 billion fund raised by President
Goodluck Jonathan from friends at the weekend to prosecute his re-election bid in 2015.
In the midst of collapsed economy, high state of insecurity, poor power supply, rising unemployment and pervasive poverty, the president raised N21.27 billion at the weekend from cronies believed to be paying back in kind for the contracts and other benefits they enjoy from the presidency.
The anger stems from the fact that such donations in the midst of poverty and insecurity are uncalled for or at best the donations would have been channelled to employment generation, fighting insecurity or for taking care of thousands of abandoned internally dieplaced persons by the Boko Haram insurgency.
Prof. Itse Sagay, Constitutional lawyer said the fund raising was a deception in the midst of under development, saying that since the PDP was the ruling party and had the resources of the nation at its disposal, it could organise any fund raising to raise money.
“But for me, it is all more of a camouflage because they already have the state’s 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,” he said.
Sagay said the N21 billion might not be the actual money the president would spend in his campaign but might be more.
Also, Comrade Debo Adeniran, Executive Director, Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, CACOL said, “It shows the level of insensitivity of the government and the corporate sector to the plight of the generality of Nigerians. Corporate Social Responsibility is now directed at those who will reward the corporate individuals”.
“It is sad that the president who has failed in offering proper governance to the nation takes his re-election more important than defending the constitution to protect the people. It shows the president loves himself more than Nigerians. That money could have provided arms and ammunition to battle insurgency,” says Adeniran.
He was of the opinion that such donations smack of insensitiveness and greed on the part of those ruling the nation.
“I have no problem with the fund raising for re-election. The problem is that it is those who have stolen money from the nation, who are now giving back part of their loot to the president and it is not about the private sector giving to the president,” Festus Keyamo, a Lagos radical lawyer said.
Keyamo said the money being given back was Nigeria’s money, saying it was government prarastatals contributing the money for the president’s re-election.
“What we saw that day was obscene against the Electoral law and it is unfortunate that INEC is very reluctant to punish them,” he stated.
Rotimi Akeredolu, former President, Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, does not see anything wrong raising fund for election as long as such activity complies with the provisions of the Electoral Act, but is concerned where the money donated comes from, especially at a time the Federal Government is not paying salaries.
“The fund raasing is obscene in view of the economic crises we are experiencing in this county of ours,” he stated.
Activist, Moshood Erubami said with such outrageous donations, it showed that INEC is not monitoring how the various political parties were raising money for the forthcoming elections.
He said what happened was that all those who had got contracts from the government were simply paying back in kind to get the president back to power in order to get more contracts.
Erubami is optimistic that the wish of the people would surely prevail next year as they people would vote for Buhari who would liberate this nation.
Another activist, Alhaji Yerima Shetima lamented that it was those benefitting from the government through contracts who were paying back in kind.
“In the midst of insecurity where people die daily, the president is still working to get to power. The values and norms have been lost. It is left for the people to go back to the trenches and ensure we are saved from these characters,” he said.
Mr Joe Igbokwe, Publicity Secretary, APC, Lagos State said the PDP had failed Nigerians, saying “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.”
Igbokwe added that “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.”
In his reaction, the chairman, Lagos House of Assembly Committee on Transportation; Commerce and Industry, Prince Bisi Yusuf said, if they could raise such huge amount in few hours from businessmen, friends, associates and sectors, including those that needed to be overhauled, why had they not done same to save the dying sectors?
“Is it not embarrassing that in a country where there is no functional refinery the oil and gas sector donated N5 billion, the Aviation Sector where safety is questionable donated N1 billion? The Power Sector at a time Nigerians are grappling with darkness donated N500 million, while the Road Construction Sector donated N560 million when almost of the major roads across the nation are death traps?” Yusuf pointed out.
The lawmaker who secured the mandate as the standard bearer of the All Progressives Congress, APC for a second term as representative of Alimosho Constituency 01 in the 2015 general election, said his heart bled for the nation considering the way it was being ‘raped’ by those who should be concerned about the country’s wellbeing.
Prince Yusuf said if such monies were in the coffers of the mentioned sectors and were truly donated by them, why were such monies not used to solve the problems which have turned to national disgrace in the sectors such as Oil and Gas, Power, Aviation and Transportation.
He said he believes that the real source of the funds raised was being kept secret but would be revealed soon.
Shola Giwa, an All Progressives Congress, APC, candidate for the Lagos State House of Assembly in next year’s election decried the donations, saying it showed that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, did not have anything to offer the nation.
He wondered why such should happen in a country where everything had virtually collapsed and also wondered where the money came from, saying it showed the unseriousness of the government in power.
According to Giwa, the PDP had impoverished the nation and the people, adding that Major General Muhammed Buhari is the man the nation needed at this crucial period to restore hope to the people as records had shown that he is uncorruptible.
SOURCE: Nigerian Observer.