PDP’s obscene fund-raiser

The Jonathan administration rated low in the fight against corruption and notorious for many acts of impunity in the last six years is similarly not known to be strong in its decision making process. The recent ill-advised obscene Abuja fund-raiser was therefore in character. They chose a date close to Christmas when millions of jobless Nigerians and thousands in  the employ of MDAs and state governments looked up to a bleak Christmas celebrations because of backlog of government unpaid salaries, to celebrate a few wealthy Nigerians whose source of wealth is traceable to  government. In what can at best be regarded as a tactless display of insensitivity, President Goodluck Jonathan, Vice President Namadi Sambo, Senate President David Mark, House of Representatives Deputy Speaker Emeka Ihedioha, PDP governors, Ministers, PDP National Chairman Adamu Muazu    and the chairman, Board of Trustees of PDP, Chief Anthony Anenih, jointly supervised  the assault on Nigerians, on the constitution and the Electoral Act with a haul of a whopping N21 billion from mostly government contractors euphemistically called ‘friends of government’.

If PDP leading lights are cut off from reality of a nation they govern where millions go to bed without food and millions more are in refugee camps in their own country, it is no less distressing that with the quality of minds we have as ministers and special advisers, none was bold enough to point out that with election few weeks away, the event could only further alienate the electorate. If the president doesn’t give a damn about the electorate because he has put his fate in the prediction of landslide victory by Asari Dokubo, the militant turned government contractor, who did not indicate if it would be through the aid of hooded security men or through the use of Sure-P armed traffic controllers Musliu Obanikoro claimed was the brain-child of Bode George to create problems during election, those genuinely committed to our nation within the party could have saved the president from himself even if only to create an illusion of the supremacy of the electorate.

With great tact, billions of naira “which belong to Caesar would have returned to Caesar”  without  an open assault on the electorate, the Nigerian 1999 constitution, section 221 which clearly states: “No association, other than a political party, shall canvass for votes for any candidate at any election or contribute to the funds of any political party or to the election expenses of any candidate at an election.” or the Electoral Act 2010, as amended, Section 91 (2) that states “the maximum election expenses to be incurred by a candidate at a presidential election shall be N1 billion.”

The tragedy however is that many of the bright minds surrounding Jonathan are more committed to the president and his controversial transformation agenda than to the nation. This explains why impunity has thrived more under Jonathan presidency. For instance the president in December 2012 removed the so called fuel subsidy claiming the alternative was an imminent collapse of the economy, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Minister of Finance and the then CBN governor, Lamido Sanusi were on hand to provide fraudulent intellectual backing. They openly lied to Nigerians by claiming only middle class car owners and diesel generator owners would be affected. When the House probe revealed it was a strategy to shield PDP men and their fronts who had allegedly stolen N1,7 trillion, Dr Doyin Okupe asked Nigerians to praise the president for his courage to order the children of his party leaders to be charged to court for their alleged involvement in the scam.

For upturning the victories of PDP governors that had usurped  their opponents mandates in Ondo, Edo, Ekiti and Osun,  a development that threatened the position of the president   whose  own disputed victory was then pending in the appeal court, the National Judicial Council(NJC) was on hand to be used as a tool for illegal suspension of Justice Ayo Salami. Respected former CJN, Justice Muhammadu Uwais recently condemned the action of the NJC. To checkmate the influence of Rotimi Amaechi whose position as the chairman of the governors forum posed a threat to Jonathan’s nomination as PDP 2015 candidate, 14 PDP governors and Segun Mimiko of Ondo and Peter Obi of Anambra were in Aso rock villa to fraudulently claim they were the winners of an election they lost by 16 to 19. The point is there are always enough men and women without character within PDP that have price tags.

Now, let us take a critical look at the president new friends  who were probably busy serving other masters at the time pastor Tunde Bakare led civil society groups to fight the president battle on the streets of Lagos and Abuja  and Obasanjo blackmailed the northern governors to neutralize the PDP constitution that stood on Jonathan’s path. Leading the new fair weather friends is Mr. Tunde Ayeni. His consortium was said to have recently acquired NITEL and Mtel. He was also linked to the Ibadan Electricity Development Company. He started the orgy of donation with N2b on behalf of himself and unidentified friends.  The obscene scene could have been brought to an end with  that scandalous donation by an individual, which was far in excess of the amount allowed by law, but those who don’t give a damn about how Nigerians feel went ahead to inflict more injuries .  N5 billion came from Bola Shagaya, a woman who is said to be an active player in the oil and gas industry. She made the donation on behalf of herself and unidentified friends. Then followed by another bizarre donation of N5 billion by Jerry Gana, a man described by ACF as ‘.the friend of any government in power’.

Jerry Gana it was who not too long ago led a delegation of beneficiaries of PHCN sales (the DISCOs and GENCOs), to beg government to buy equity shares in their new companies, solicit for import duty waivers as well as plead for government bailouts.  One would have expected the president and his party’s leading light to be concerned about the implications of such huge donations from Gana, a key player in the energy sector – a concern recently raised by The Punch editorial which in summary agonises that “It is little wonder that the government, after selling the power sector to private operators, is still interested in arranging a N213 billion bailout for them”

More scandalous donations followed. The 21 PDP governors, many with months of backlog of unpaid salaries of workers earning minimum wage of N18, 000, gleefully announced a joint donation of N1.05 billion. The power sector which has been billing consumers for energy not supplied, followed with N500m. Also from the construction sector where most of the roads flagged off by Obasanjo 10 years back remain work in progress because of failure of government to meet its financial obligations, came with N500m. Even the automobile sector whose key players in the wake of ‘Oduagate’ were found to have benefited unfairly from government waivers were not left out. They also made a modest donation of N500m.

Year 2015 is neither 2009 nor 2011 when others fought Jonathan’s battle for him resulting in massive support for the shoeless poor boy from Otuoke in Balyelsa by Nigerians who chorused ‘leadership of Nigeria is not the birthright of any group.’ Now Jonathan is entering the 2015 contest with six years legacy of corruption, impunity and squandering away of overwhelming goodwill of Nigerians that gave him a landslide victory at the polls in 2011. The new fairweather friends he empowered in the last six years have attributed that along with the sweat of others to his famed good luck. That good luck will be called to test in 2015.

The obscene Abuja fund-raiser only confirms the characterization of the president as a shrewd investor who expects higher dividends from his investments. But Jonathan doesn’t need N21 billion for an election that comes up in less than eight weeks. Jerry Gana should be assigned the responsibility of using part of the humongous donations to look after the displaced people of the besieged north eastern Nigeria. Niger Republic only last Sunday admitted she has capacity for only a limited number of refugees in her territory with thousands of others left to their fate in a strange land.

0 views0 comments