2019: Buhari’s campaign team in search of funds
LAGOS—Two hundred and twenty one (221) days to the 2019 presidential election, foot soldiers of the Muhammadu Buhari campaign are in desperate search for funds to prosecute the election, Vanguard has learned.
The desperation of the campaigners may have been compounded by verbal instructions by the presidency not to use public funds for campaigns. Meanwhile, the Alliance for New Nigeria, ANN, one of the leading newly registered political parties has explained reasons it walked away from the coalition of political parties framed to coordinate opposition to President Buhari’s All Progressives Congress, APC. The ANN has in its fold some of the country’s most visible social media political actors, including former PDP chieftain, Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim; motivational speaker and business coach, Fela Durotoye; property mogul turned philanthropist, Dr. Elishama Ideh and Dr. Thomas Wilson Ikubese. A high-level official involved in the yet to be fully unveiled campaign structure of the President told Vanguard, yesterday, that the President was proving difficult in providing funding for the campaign. The source, who spoke on the basis of strict anonymity, further deposed that the President had compounded the situation by restricting access to funds from otherwise reliable slush funds in the public sector. President Buhari announced the appointments of Mr. Rotimi Amaechi as his campaign manager and Mr. Festus Keyamo, SAN, as campaign spokesman in April. However, beyond that, no formal move had been made in putting up the campaign structure, besides the multitude of mushroom support groups. “The President said that there is no money and he has compounded it by ordering that no minister should provide money from the public treasury for the campaign. ‘’So you can imagine the dilemma we are in,” one of the officials told Vanguard yesterday. The source who is already operating in the background waiting for the lift in the ban on politicking added: “The President said that any minister who defies his order against the use of public money for the campaign would be jailed, so we are now looking for alternative ways of raising funds for the campaign,” the official said. ANN backs out Meanwhile, efforts to shape a consolidated opposition to the President’s re-election may have suffered a setback after the ANN walked out of the coalition. The ANN, which is the platform adopted by the Chief Olisa Agbakoba-led Nigeria Intervention Movement, NIM, walked out of last Wednesday’s high profile talks facilitated by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to harness forces against the APC. Chairman of the party, Dr. Jay Samuels, said his group walked out of the meeting following what he described as the lack of prior notice given to his group. Present at the meeting hosted by Chief Tom Ikimi in Abuja were the national chairmen of about 40 political parties. Giving reasons the ANN walked out, Dr. Samuels said: “We were invited without an agenda of what was going to be discussed. Before the meeting started after all the party chairmen had introduced themselves, Liyel Imoke said that before they proceed, they wanted to be sure that everyone present was 100% on board with the plans. And that if there was any person not on board that he should take his leave. “But for us, we didn’t know what was on the agenda and what was going to be discussed, so we decided to take a leave. For us, that was the first time we were attending the meeting, and we told them we didn’t know what the agenda was and we didn’t want to be part of a meeting we didn’t know what the agenda was.” Asked about the development yesterday, Chief Ikimi said he didn’t know Dr. Samuels and would not respond to him.