The All Progressives Congress (APC), Tuesday unfolded the strategies for raising fund to finance its Presidential Campaign saying the intention was to democratize campaign funding in the country and to operate a transparent and accountable fundraising and management.
Director of the Buhari-Osinbajo Campaign Fundraising Committee and Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola, who unveiled the strategies at a press briefing in Lagos, said the intention was also “to show that Nigeria is a civilized country and that things can be done differently and that change is upon us”.
Other members of the 12-member Committee, according to Governor Fashola, include Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, a former Governor of Osun state, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Ex-Bayelsa Governor, Timipre Sylva, former Commissioner for Finance in Lagos, Olawale Edun, Abbas Bello, Ikechukwu Obiora, Farouq Adamu Aliyu, Sharon Ikeazor, Sabo Nakudu, Sardauna Habeeb, Badaru Abubakar and Bola Oyebode.
Addressing the gathering of APC chieftains and supporters, members of the State Executive Council,supporters of the Party,and journalists, Governor Fashola said the Committee has come up with five platforms through which ordinary Nigerians could contribute to the fund adding that the idea was based on the desire to give Nigeria back to ordinary citizens of the country.
The Governor said the plan was in tandem with the desire of the Presidential Candidate, General Buhari, “to have a campaign that involved ordinary people and that he was committing to a transparent and accountable fund raising and management”, adding that the Committee has taken that as the compass in developing the fundraising strategies.
He told his audience, “Today, we unveil many platforms where those who can vote and, indeed, those who cannot vote, can still participate in the elections by contributing to the Buhari-Osinbajo Campaign. This Campaign will need money, as every other campaign does, but we are very clear about what we will be spending this money on.”
Governor Fashola, who said the intention of the Committee was “to democratize campaign funding by the strategic partnerships”, said money got from the fundraising would be spent on payment of agents’ fees and honoraria on election days “getting APC’s campaign message of Change to the people, transport costs for those who are engaged in the campaign, printing materials and so on”, adding, however that the fund would not be used to build Pprty secretariat as being belatedly claimed by another party.
“All of the money will go towards effecting the change we desire and for rescuing Nigerians from bad government. In essence we are democratizing campaign funding by the strategic partnerships that we have formed,” the Governor said.
He said in other to get the democratization process to the grassroots the event would be translated to all the major languages adding, “This kind of launch will take place across the geo-political zones spreading the same message of what happened here today”.
According to the Governor, the Committee has created five platforms the first of which is partnership with the First Bank, Zenith Bank, Access Bank, Guarantee Trust Bank and Eco Bank which, he said, “have agreed to provide platforms for those who want to pay by cash lodgments in the banks”.
“So if you want to pay in cash, what these banks will be doing is to provide a dedicated teller and that teller will have the name APCGMBPYO 2015 and this will be available in all their branch networks across the country. These banks on their own have well over 1,000 branches across major cities in Nigeria”, the Governor explained.
He, however, said the Party’s doors are still open for partnership with other banks that might wish to join in the deal, which he emphasized, is strictly business and non-partisan. “These are the banks which for now have agreed to follow the pattern which we designed for them in order to make campaign fund donations easy”, he explained.
The next payment platform, the Governor disclosed, is the Electronic payment platform explaining that for those who want to make payment through this platform, likely to be younger people, all they need to do is to log in the domain name of the Party which is and follow the instructions therein.
“This electronic platform will enable those who are in Nigeria and those who are not in Nigeria to use either their telephones, their credit cards or their debit cards by linking up to any of these platforms to contribute to the change they desire for Nigeria”, Governor Fashola said.
Explaining the third platform as “the short messaging service known as text messaging”, the Governor said for those who want to make payment by this mode, all they need to do is to text 35350 adding, however, that here the maximum a donor can contribute by texting that number is N100.00.
“You can, however, send as many text messages as you want to if you want to contribute more than N100.00. And once you do that, the amount you contribute will be credited in your name and your telephone number to Buhari-Osinbajo Campaign Fund”, he said adding that the fourth platform is the ring tone platform.
“Once you buy the ringtone online, you will be contributing to the Buhari-Osinbajo Campaign Fund. All you need to do is download APCGMBPYO ring tone and you will be contributing N100.00 to the Fund”, he said.
Governor Fashola, who listed “the Scratch Card”, as the fifth platform, said the Committee has also partnered with a company called One Card explaining that each of their scratch cards has a value written on it from N100.00 to N1,500.00.
According to the Governor, “For any scratch card you buy, the value of the card will be credited in your name and telephone number to the contribution towards the change of bad governance if you dial *979*22*pin# and then you send and you will be contributing towards change in Nigeria”.
He said operators of this platform have assured the Committee that they have 40,000 primary and accredited vendors of the card across Nigeria so that access to it will be relatively easy adding, “We know that there are also secondary vendors who run in thousands of those who sell this card”.
Noting that the card is already in use “for people who use the various networks”, Governor Fashola, however, said the difference here is that in order to use this card to contribute to the Buhari campaign, when a contributor dials *979, instead of dialing the number that links him to his network, he should dial 22 and continue up to his pin number and then send.
The Governor declared, “As you make these contributions, there will be records and I will do my best to acknowledge and thank you by text messaging and possibly by letters to every donation you make wherever you are in Nigeria. We expect that you will signify your desire for change by contributing toward this campaign and be a part of the change that you desire.”
He reiterated that all the businesses and platforms that the Committee has partnered with have no partisan positions adding, “This is a purely commercial transaction. They are simply putting forward their professional services and this is important for me to say before the ruling party starts to threaten their businesses.”
Expressing dismay at the intolerant position of the ruling party towards the opposition, Governor Fashola reported that the APC’s domain name, which is, “which incidentally promotes Nigeria”, has been shut down by the Nigerian Government “because they don’t want us to use any internet platform to communicate”, adding that the APC has been compelled to register a new name – over which the Federal Government will have little control.
Promising to brief the public from time to time on other events planned for fundraising towards the Presidential Campaign, the governor said the Party’s domain name would be the electronic internet platform for payment for the fundraising and other activities adding that the intention was “to show that Nigeria is a civilized country and that things can be done differently and that change is upon us”.
On what the Committee wants to achieve by employing the five strategies, the Fund Raising Director said one of them was “to give this nation back to the ordinary people; because for a long time there has been a lot of mischief about how elections are funded”.
“There are accusations and counter-accusations as to whether government funds are involved or whether some super-spenders who finance elections with the intention of taking over government. The debate whether or not those accusations remain proven is a matter of public concern”, the Governor said.
According to him, “If we succeed, as we will, then ordinary people will fund the party and their candidates and in that sense have a voice in the process that affects them. Therefore, Ladies and Gentlemen, this fundraising will be different from the traditional ones that we have been accustomed to and this is part of the Change that our Party, the APC, represents.
“We can hear, we can see and we can feel the desire of ordinary Nigerians for Change and, therefore, this fundraising strategy has been designed to give every ordinary Nigerian the opportunity to participate in effecting that Change. We have also seen the enthusiasm of young people to participate in this election, especially those who are voting for the first time”, Mr. Fashola said, expressing regrets, however, that a number of them have either been denied the opportunity to register or where they have done so, they are still experiencing difficulties in getting their Permanent Voters Cards.
He also expressed dismay that Nigerians living abroad, “most of whom were forced to relocate because of security, electricity and bad governance”, would not be able to vote in spite of their concern and enthusiasm to do so because “their government is not efficient enough to allow them vote abroad by using available technology”.
Quoting a text message which he got earlier in the day from a citizen, Governor Fashola, who reiterated that no amount would be too small to contribute towards the campaign, again pledged to acknowledge all contributors and was certain that their votes would count this time. He urged Nigerians, both those living at home and those abroad, to contribute to change so that they can get opportunity to realize their dreams.
Fielding questions from journalists later, Governor Fashola, who noted that there is regulatory provision in the Electoral Act about how to manage campaign funds saying that his Committee intends to comply with those regulations “as a law abiding party”.
Dismissing allegations that local governments were funding APC campaigns in Lagos, Governor Fashola challenged those making the allegations to present the facts adding that the Party would not be distracted by the allegations that are not substantiated.
The Governor declared that his Committee would not accept donations from anonymous donors because it must account for the source of the funding, adding, “especially in the light of the global security challenges, we want to know who paid what and that is why we have put all these electronic platform there so that we can track you by phone, and therefore you are identifiable”.
“This is why we are using these platforms and once there is data, then it is easy to say thank you to you, I cannot say thank you to anonymous person and an anonymous person would not drive change; it is the people we know that we want to be behind the change that we want to see in Nigeria”, he said.
Governor Fashola said after it has achieved objectives of changing bad governance, if there is still some money left APC would have validated first its positions that Nigerians wanted this change then it would come back to the public to give account adding, “That is why every political party have strategic officers – auditors, accountants, treasures and so many levels of professional activities and politicking within the structure of every party”.
“They are not there by accident, they provide support to the party in order to enable it comply with laws, we also have a legal adviser at National and State levels, that is why this people exist so we will work in accordance with the laws, compile our accounts and records of what we received, we truly mean what we say, when we say come and listen, we want to change the way things are done”, he said.