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2019: APC, PDP Eye Contractors, Lawmakers For Campaign Funds

The two dominant political parties , the All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party , have begun to strategise on how to raise funds for the 2019 election campaigns , findings by Saturday PUNCH have revealed .

This is coming barely one week after the Independent National Electoral Commission lifted ban on campaigns for presidential and National Assembly elections scheduled for February next year .

Findings by Saturday PUNCH indicated that the leadership of the parties had already started making moves on how and where to rake in money for the campaigns which would run into several billions of naira .

While it was gathered that each aspirant for elective offices except the presidential candidates would be expected to largely fund their campaigns , it was learnt that the national leadership of the parties would also contribute to the campaigns .

Already , the parties might have devised means of beating the amount set as highest to be spent by an aspirant to each political office by the Electoral Act.

The National Assembly had recently amended Section 91 of the 2010 Electoral Act, which guides spending by candidates for elections.
While it said election expenses for presidential election should not exceed N 5 bn , the new law also stipulates that no governorship candidate should spend above N 1 bn .

The limits stipulated by the Act for other contestants are : senatorial candidate , N 100 m ; House of Representatives , N 70m ; State House of Assembly, N 30m ; local government chairman , N 30m and councillorship , not above N 5 m . These are in line with the amendment to Section 91(1 to 7 ).

The law also said that no individual or other entity shall donate to a candidate more than N 10m .

Specifically, Section 91( 10) stipulates that “a candidate who knowingly acts in contravention of this section , commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of one per cent of the amount permitted as the limit of campaign expenditure under this Act or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or both. ’’

It was gathered that the parties might use corporate organisations and individuals to fund the aspirants , thereby making it difficult for INEC to trace the amount spent by such individuals and private organisations to the political parties .

Although the national leadership of the two main political parties, the APC and PDP, were evasive on some sources. Investigations by our correspondents showed that the parties would rely on multiple sources for the funds .

Buhari’ s ally meets Chagoury in France for support

Findings by our correspondents revealed that both the APC and the PDP might soon be reaching out to some business moguls and key corporate entities .

Key among the business moguls the parties are eyeing for funds include the President of Dangote Group , Aliko Dangote ; and Gilbert Chagoury , the owner of Eko Hotel and Suites , Hitech Construction and many other firms.

Specifically, it was gathered that a key leader of the APC , who is a former governor in one of the South - West states , recently met Chagoury in France to discuss issues relating to donation of funds for the party .

Chagoury is a business mogul who is said to be worth over $ 15bn , according to Wikipedia .
He has been a supporter of Bill and Hillary Clinton since the 1990 s. He has funded their election campaigns and is a major donor to the Clinton Foundation .

His firm , Chagoury Group , is a Nigerian multinational business conglomerate headquartered in Lagos .

When contacted on the telephone , the spokesperson for the Buhari Campaign Organisation , Mr. Festus Keyamo (SAN), refused to confirm or deny Buhari ’ s ally met with Chagoury in France.

He simply said , “We don’ t respond to rumours. ”
Aside these businessmen who might donate on philanthropic grounds , it was learnt that businessmen and women who have benefitted from either the government or intend to benefit , would be expected to also contribute to the presidential campaigns of the two leading presidential candidates .

Sources from both parties said majority of the known businessmen and women , either in agricultural , oil, aviation and other fields would make huge donations to both the Buhari and Atiku campaign organisations .

One of the sources said , “ There’ s no known business man or woman, who will not be part of those that will fund the campaigns of President Buhari and ex - Vice- President Atiku Abubakar . That’ s the truth .

“ While Buhari is the present leader and through him some businessmen and women are benefitting, Atiku was there before and there is hope that he could win. So , no businessman or woman worth being known as one will look the other way.

“ The only difference we are expecting is that, if Mr. ‘ B ’ gives President Buhari N 10m , he may give Atiku N 8 m because of the fear of incumbency . ”

Governors to donate heavily

Another crop of sponsors of the campaigns are expected to be the state governors from both political parties.

While the PDP has raised a Fund Raising Committee , which is headed by the Governor of Akwa Ibom State , Mr. Udom Emmanuel , investigations by our correspondents showed that the APC had not been able to raise its own committee due to internal wranglings among its members .

Emmanuel , who is presiding over the oil- rich state , is expected to use his connections with the financial institutions where he was before joining politics , to make contacts that would beneficial to the PDP presidential campaigns .

“ The choice of Udom Emmanuel is strategic . He was with Zenith Bank, so he knows the big players in the financial sector . He is also a governor of one of the richest states in Nigeria , we therefore expect him to be able to rally his colleagues round the party and its presidential candidate in this crucial time , ” a top member of the National Working Committee of the party said.

Nevertheless, it was learnt that the PDP governors “are being tactical ” in their approach to donate money for the party ’ s camping due to the alleged moves by the Federal Government to use the anti -graft agencies to monitor movement of money from their state accounts from banks .

PDP plans presidential dinner , fundraiser for Atiku , others

Meanwhile , the PDP will at some point during the course of the 2019 election campaigns hold presidential dinner and fundraiser to mop up funds to finance the campaigns of its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar , and other candidates vying for governorship and legislative positions .

The party , however , expressed the hope that the APC- led Federal Government would not use “ untoward means ” to prevent associates of the party and its candidates from donating to the cause of Atiku and the party .

The spokesperson for the Atiku Abubakar Campaign Organisation , Mr . Segun Sowunmi , disclosed this in an interview with one of our correspondents on Thursday .

Sowunmi , who declined to comment about the names of key players in the business and political circles who would donate to support Atiku’ s presidential bid as well other candidates of the party vying for various elective offices , said it would be unprofessional to start mentioning their names.

He said , “ From what we can see , most of the members of the various communities and friends of Nigeria, having looked at the direction he wants to go with his policy document that had been unveiled, it is clear that players in the private sector can reasonably expect to play significant roles and have the opportunity to play bigger roles in the running of the affairs of the country and in their businesses . So , I want to believe that a good number of them are also willing to support them . It will be unacceptable and unprofessional to start mentioning people ’ s names.

Sowunmi stressed that aside a presidential dinner, the party might likely set up a campaign fundraiser that would allow the generality of
Nigerians to donate to the campaign funds.

“ There would be a window for friends, associates and the generality of Nigerians to be able to contribute their widow’ s mite if they so feel inclined , ” he said .

Asked whether Atiku could finance his presidential bid alone , the spokesman said it was inappropriate for a political party to present a candidate and then have the idea that the presidential candidate would self - finance a presidential election .

On the estimated budget for the campaign , Sowunmi said , “ The PDP and the campaign office would be funded within the ambit of what is allowed and what is legally acceptable . But , we would not go over the limit . This campaign is not going to be about money per se . ”

Post - primary crisis delays APC fundraising plans

The post- primary crisis, it was learnt , had in some ways prevented the ruling party from perfecting its fundraising plans.

Consequently , the ruling party seems to be more concerned about reconciling its aggrieved members .

Chieftains of the party , who spoke under condition of anonymity , however, told one of our correspondents that the APC was not bothered about finances as it still has 23 governors and high ranking members of the National Assembly in its fold, who are willing to come to the aid of the party at anytime .

A top member of the party from the North, who pleaded anonymity , said , “We are not bothered about fundraising for now . President Muhammadu Buhari has a goodwill which transcends beyond party lines , so raising funds is not an issue at all. ”

Another chieftain from the South said , “Our immediate plan is how to sustain party unity and avoid a crack within our ranks . We have men of means in our midst and we don’ t need any ceremony to get funds for the party as they are willing. ”

Another member of the National Executive Council also said the APC could not be troubled about finances .

“ When we were in the opposition, we were able to match the then ruling PDP because the masses were behind us and not because we threw money around .

“ The masses are still behind us , having seen that our government is a government with peoples’ interest at heart . We should not expect less this time . We would do what is right . ”
However , there were indications that the party at the moment was comfortable to run its operational activities without a fuss .

The APC National Publicity Secretary , Mallam Lanre Issa -Onilu , confirmed the indication to one of our correspondents when contacted to speak on the development .

“ We have not made any announcement as regard that . We are going to run a very transparent campaign . When we get to that stage , we will make the announcement. We want to be a model for responsible politicking for other political parties , ” he said .

Also , Keyamo said that the organisation had yet to take a decision on how to raise funds for the re - election campaigns of President Buhari .
He said once a decision was taken on the matter, such decision would be made public .

Nigerians will fund Atiku , says PDP

The spokesperson for the PDP , Mr. Kola Ologbodiyan, however, insisted that “ Nigerians would fund ” the presidential campaign of the party ’ s candidate, Atiku.

He added , “Nigerians are going to fund the presidential campaign of the PDP and it is the people that will make him their president . We will not task anyone , not even the governors .

“ What do we need money for? Is it not to reach out to the people ? Atiku will assembly Nigerians to pay for whatever will make him to get across to them . So , if anyone is waiting for us to come out with any list , asking them to bring any huge amount , that person is wrong . ”

Political parties to tax lawmakers , others

Further investigations by our correspondents showed that the two parties might not be saying the truth concerning the funding of its presidential campaigns .

For example , elective members of the party in different offices are expected to be taxed for the campaigns. The amount they would be asked to pay , according to sources, would be different from monthly contribution each of the appointees and elective officers have been paying into the accounts of the political parties .

Sources close to the political parties , who spoke with one of our correspondents on condition of anonymity , said that the elected members of the parliament and others had been making monthly donation to the parties since they assumed office.

Several members of the National Assembly confirmed that they paid monthly dues to their parties. They further disclosed that the dues were usually deducted from their salaries .

Both the APC and the PDP lawmakers , who spoke to Saturday PUNCH, however said their parties had not levied them on the forthcoming general elections in 2019.

Speaking with one of our correspondents , a member of APC in the Senate , who declined to be named , said it had been the tradition for appointed and elected public officers to pay dues to their parties .

Ahead of the 2015 presidential election , the APC had raised five platforms for fundraising for Buhari - Osinbajo campaign organisation .

They were the APCGMBPYO 2015 with some banks for cash donation ; an electronic platform for donation by those within and outside Nigeria through debit cards, credit cards and telephone ; short messaging service for contribution of N 100 per message , purchase of Buhari -Osinbajo ring tone and scratch card ( one card ) for use on mobile telecom service providers lines.

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