The sources of funding for the campaigns of the All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party candidates remain a mystery with just 18 days until the start of the presidential elections.
This is so because, according to PUNCH, the two campaigns have refused to say how they plan to raise money to advertise their programs to voters.
The Independent Electoral Commission has announced that the presidential campaign season will start on Wednesday, September 28, 2022.
Presidential campaigns in the country usually involves a lot of logistics such as candidates and party officials travelling to all states capitals to address rallies, where they sell their manifestos, mobilisation of supporters to such rallies, purchasing vehicles, printing souvenirs like T-shirts and fez caps as well as posters, placing advertisements in newspapers, online media, TV and radio stations, among others.
Section 88 of the Electoral Act, 2022 pegs the amount a presidential candidate can spend to prosecute an election at N5billion, while the sum an individual or entity can donate to the candidate is N50million.
However, responding to inquiries from PUNCH on the sources of funding for the 2023 presidential poll, the Director of Media and Publicity for the All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Council, Bayo Onanuga, said the party candidate’s strategy of raising funds for his campaign was not for media consumption.
He said, “Why should we be discussing that on the pages of newspapers? I can’t say anything. You will have to wait until a fund raising committee has been set up. Our directorate of the presidential campaign council is not dealing with all issues.
“But when members of the fund raising committee come on board, you will know the right person to ask that question. Until that is done, we can’t tell you anything on how we hope to raise funds.”
Also, the Director-General of the Asiwaju Tinubu-Shettima Coalition for Good Governance, Adebayo Shittu, argued that the candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s plan to raise a budget for his presidential campaign should not be a subject of discourse or the business of the public.
The former Minister of Communications noted that his principal “is a self-made man who doesn’t need external funding for electioneering activities.”
Responding to questions about how the Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, would finance his election, the Atiku Campaign Council spokesperson, Daniel Bwala, said, “All the questions you are asking should be directed to INEC, because the law mandates us only to give INEC reports on the questions you are asking.”
Prodded further, he said, “Can a candidate fund an election without a campaign structure? Has the campaign structure been announced? When we get to the bridge, we will cross it; how do you want us to raise funds? I believe we will have to wait until the campaign structure is out; then, you can ask questions related to the campaign, because it is the campaign structure that sees our budget. To cross a bridge, you have to get to the bridge before you cross it.”
But the Media Adviser to Atiku, Paul Ibe, stated that his principal would raise money in line with the constitution.
Ibe said, “Atiku Abubakar will raise his campaign funds in line with the constitution of the country and the legal provision. He will not go outside of that; you can be sure of that.
“Atiku will not raise his funds in any shape or form that is illegal or in breach of the constitutional provision. He will comply with whatever provision the Electoral Act and the constitution spell out in raising funds for the campaign; whatever the law forbids, he will not do.”
The spokesman for the Peter Obi Support Network, Onwuasoanya Jones, said Nigerians had started donating to the ‘Obidient’ political movement to actualise the presidential ambition of the candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi,
He added that the candidate would not spend up to the N5bn stipulated by the Electoral Act for the 2023 elections.