APC, PDP, LP re-strategize on campaign funding

• Govs, Business moguls, others to fund APC campaigns

The Evangelist edition
November 12, 2022.

THE leading political parties have returned to the drawing board to re-strategize on how to raise funds for the 2023 polls especially the presidential election following the decision of the Federal Government to redesign the Naira.

There are Indications that stakeholders of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, are working on a viable funding template for its 2023 electioneering campaigns, Saturday Vanguard has learned.

The main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the Labour Party, LP are set to review their funding strategies as the planned redesign of Nigeria’s currency- the Naira, appears to threaten traditional methods of campaign funding.

With the policy, the old currency will become useless on January 31, 2023 exactly 25 days to the February 25, 2023 presidential polls.

The new notes will be in circulation from December 15. People with huge sums of old N200, N500 and N1000 notes, in cash, must lodge them in banks on or before January 31 or the notes will become useless.

There are fears that the Central bank of Nigeria, CBN, will no longer print large quantities of cash and a new cashless policy will be announced in January.

With this, party insiders fear that they may not have enough ‘raw cash’ with which to prosecute the elections.

With the plans of the CBN to change the Naira before the February/March elections, some strategists within the APC were said to have suggested that whatever needed to be procured in Naira be done quickly.

“As the party in power, one would naturally think that we have access to the CBN to grant some concessions but even if we have that opportunity, we are not going to abuse public trust.

“There are things like vehicles, mobile phones and other logistics that are needed for the elections. These are things that some of us are recommending that we buy immediately. We don’t need foreign exchange to procure most of these things and yet we do not have to wait until the Naira is changed”, said a party source.

Asked how the party intends to raise funds for its activities, the source said; “I am one of the advocates of having our members donate to the campaigns. If we have over 40 million members and we can ask them to donate N1000 each, that is a lot of money.

“However, until we structure the party in a way that members take ownership of it, we cannot really leverage on our mass appeal.

“What we are doing is to ask the governors to donate. They have always been in charge of the party and they are going to be driving the process in their various states.

“The party itself will donate. Some of the candidates would make donations. We have friends in the business community. Our funding template will adhere to the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 (as amended).

“We are already working on generating the funds and we do not have a problem with that,” he said.

PDP, LP review funding strategy

For the main opposition PDP, and Labour Party, Saturday Vanguard gathered that the two parties are separately looking up to their strategy teams to work out modalities for aggressive fund raising which must be in compliance with existing electoral laws.

A PDP chieftain familiar with the development, said: “Our situation in the PDP is made a bit more complex because five of our governors, whose contributions are badly needed at times like this, have pulled back.

“We are in opposition. Apart from membership dues which come in trickles, most of our members do not have the financial muscle to make the kind of substantial donations the ruling party already has kept.

“However, we look to big businesses who identify with our friendly policies to step in because it is going to be a win-win situation for Nigeria and those doing business in Nigeria.

“Today, you have airlines cutting the number of flights into our country, businesses are shutting down faster than they are being registered, this never happened under the PDP and the business community knows this.

“Everything doesn’t have to be in cash. But all political parties need money because running elections anywhere in the world is expensive.

“You need money to move from point A to point B, you need funds to pay vendors of goods and services and all these things require funds.

“Like the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki said, the timing of this Naira redesign is political.

“The ruling party is targeting opposition parties in order to give undue advantage to APC candidates who have stashed cash and have been using bullion vans to move same in public glare.

“We will not be discouraged because we are fighting for a better Nigeria and we believe Nigerians are receiving our message which is to rescue Nigeria from this decadence.”

On his part, the National Publicity Secretary of the Labour Party, comrade Abayomi Arabambi explained that the LP feels blessed with the unprecedented level of acceptance the party and its candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, enjoy among Nigerians.

He said: “For the first time in our nation’s history we have a party and a presidential candidate that has grown to become a mass movement.

“Like our National Chairman has said on a number of occasions, ours is not a party of money bags, we are a mass movement.

“Nigerians believe in our message to take our country back from those whose stock in trade has been to loot the public treasury in order to use the same stolen funds to try to buy over the people during election cycles.

“This time around, we are leading the charge to say no to this criminal enterprise.

“What we are asking for is partnership with Nigerians to break this cycle and the response has been tremendous.

“The Obidient Movement marches nationwide have been carried out without shishi from the coffers of our great party.

“It has been self driven by our teeming supporters. They print T shirts, fliers and provide refreshments for themselves among other things.

“When we appeal for public support for our campaigns it is to enable the party to provide logistics especially during this campaign period which will be more intense, there is a lot of ground to cover.

“By this we mean, we need to pay for campaign venues, accommodated in some cases, advertorials in print and electronic media, arrangements for security at venues, fuelling of vehicles, medical emergencies and allied miscellaneous expenses.

“We are a party committed to enthroning a government that does things differently for a better Nigeria. We don’t see the plan to redesign the Naira as a threat because we do not have illicit funds stashed anywhere.”

It was gathered that both parties are not ruling out plans to hold fundraising events such as dinners, voluntary donations from party members and supporters to compliment funds already received from the sale of nomination forms and payment of membership dues. (Vanguard).

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