Some civil society organisations (CSOs) have expressed different views on President Muhammadu Buhari’s position on election funding.
To the executive Director of Organising for Change (OFC), Mallam Nasir Galadanchi, Buhari’s declaration that the All Progressives Congress (APC) administration would not expend public fund on election campaigns was a departure from the old political order.
Galadanchi told LEADERSHIP that the president didn’t just make a political statement, but had issued a directive to all heads of ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to desist from such acts.
In a sharp contrast, the executive director of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, said the president’s directive was “deceitful and insincere.”
Auwal, who is also the head of Transparency International Nigeria, declared that public funds were already be deployed for campaign purposes.
According to Galadanchi, the president’s instruction wasn’t “just a statement, a memo was released to MDAs to that effect. It is also evident in the happenings around the APC campaigns so far, it’s just a few weeks to the election and campaigns have not fully started. Basically, it is the state-based campaign that the APC has been aligning with. If you look at the one that happened in Kano, it was organised by the state government, and even the one in Bauchi. And that has nothing to do with the president, who is in charge of the federal government and has made his own very clear.”
Galadanchi said the president’s directive represent a paradigm shift in the way elections are being conducted and funded by ruling political parties.
When asked if the state governors were free to fund campaigns from the fortune of their various states, Galadanchi said: “It is also a tradition that state governors contribute funds to political parties for campaigns, so maybe they use funds from the state’s coffers they raised funds through crowd funding, as it is, we are seeing a precedent that is a departure from the past.”
But, Rafsanjani said: “That is a very deceitful statement by the president because already public funds are allegedly being used for his re-election campaigns. The vice president is seen all over the place sharing money to the so-called traders and this is just happening around election campaigns and also some people in government are allegedly taking public funds for his campaign.
“They didn’t remember to help traders three years ago until when it’s around the 2019 elections. I don’t think conscious Nigerians can be deceived because nothing has changed in terms of the old ways politicians are abusing electoral laws regarding campaign financing and inducing and corrupting our electoral system,” he said.