Second Campaign Finance and Use of State Administrative Resources Report In The 2015 Presidential Election.

  1. INTRODUCTION

This report focuses on the campaign finance spending and use of state administrative resources of the frontline political parties viz, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressive Congress (APC) and their presidential candidates from 19th of January to the end of February 2015. It also focuses on any other developments that have impacted on the theme of this report and gives the details of print media expenditure from December 2014 to February 14th 2015. CSJ deployed 37 monitors covering each State of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory. Beyond these monitors, the Secretariat sends out monitoring teams from time to time.

  1. TAN VIOLATED AND STILL VIOLATES THE LAW

Consider this revelation from the two pages advertorial in This Day newspaper by Martin Elechi, the governor of Ebonyi State who is facing impeachment proceedings from the State House of Assembly. “The campaign materials from the Presidential Campaign office which are meant to be disbursed by the State Governor/Coordinator of the Presidential Campaign for the State are diverted and utilised without the knowledge of the Governor. How they are used, especially Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria (TAN) rice is still an unanswered question. The N80million given to Ambassador Franklin Ogbuewu (Deputy Coordinator) for the January 16th rally in Abakiliki was paid into his personal bank account[1].

The first matter arising from the above is that the Jonathan Campaign allocated N80m for a rally in Abakiliki. Our take is that Abakiliki will not be one of the costly states in terms of funding its campaign needs. Its hotels, rentals and other campaign logistics needs will be relatively cheaper than states like Lagos, Kano, etc. Thus, it is likely that the N80million for the Abakiliki rally would be one of the least votes for a rally in the Jonathan Campaign. Assuming that this is the average sum per rally, multiply N80million by 37 (36 States and the Federal Capital Territory)   and it will come up to N2.960billion. This is already in excess of the N1billion ceiling. This is just expenditure for one aspect of the campaign. It neither includes money for the minute by minute advertisements on television and radio nor the print media advertisements.

The second matter arising from this disclosure by Governor Elechi is the blatant desecration of the political space with filthy inducement by TAN. S.124 of the Electoral Act is clear and comprehensive on the issue of bribery, inducement, promise, procurement, etc and anyone who directly or indirectly by himself or by any other person on his behalf, gives, lends or agrees to give or lend, or offers any money or valuable consideration to induce a vote is guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction to maximum fine of N500,000 or imprisonment for 12 months or both. The promoters of TAN no longer hide the materials they are using to induce voters in violation of the law. They believe that they are above the law. The Act in S. 124 (5) even provides that any person who conspires, aids or abets any other person to commit any of the offences under this part of this Act shall be guilty of the same offence and punishment thereto. Thus, the promoters of TAN have by intent and commission violated the Electoral Act whilst the law enforcement authorities are busy looking the other way. There is more than mere prima facie evidence to prosecute these ambassadors. Why is law enforcement so lax and impunity pervading campaign finance administration?

The third matter arising from the revelation is that Electoral Act further states in section 124 (6) that “for the purposes of this Act, a candidate shall be deemed to have committed an offence if it was committed with his knowledge and consent or the knowledge and consent of a person who is acting under the general or special authority of the candidate with reference to the election. The implication of the foregoing is that the candidate who TAN is supporting is in law guilty of the offence of bribery because he cannot claim ignorance of their actions and if he succeeds in that claim, TAN is acting with the consent of persons who are under the general and special authority of the candidate.

The fourth matter arising from the revelation is that TAN is acting contrary to S. 221 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999. The section clearly states that “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. What is TAN? Another political party or what exactly is the nature of the organisation? From where is TAN deriving its funds and other resources? Starting from being persuaders asking President Goodluck Jonathan to run for a second term and now being in the forefront of campaigns with access to incredible and apparently inexhaustible resources is one of the wonders of Nigeria’s democracy.

TAN is in violation of S. 91 (9) of the Electoral Act which states that: No individual or other entity shall donate more than (N1,000,000) to any candidate. Assuming without conceding that what TAN is doing is legal or it is allowed to contribute to the Jonathan campaign funds, it would have also violated the above provision because it has spent billions of naira in the efforts so far. But the way TAN is spending money leads to only one reasonable and inescapable conclusion – this is state resources channeled into private hands for the purposes of the campaign. Otherwise, let the funders show themselves, declare how much they contributed to TAN, how much they have paid as tax in the last couple of years and the source of their new found wealth which has manifested in this skewed sudden charitable disposition. Drawing this conclusion stems from the fact that high level state officials have openly embraced TAN and have collaborated with it to violate the law. Therefore, TAN from every reasonable analysis of campaign finance law and policy is a precedent which should not be allowed to continue.

  1. MONEY ON THE PULPIT

There were allegations by the Governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi, who is also the Buhari Campaign Organisation Director that President Jonathan’s Campaign team had doled out N6bn to churches through the Christian Association of Nigerian (CAN). Allegedly, the money was to move the churches to support the re-election of the incumbent; to campaign against the All Progressive Congress and also circulate documents to their members that the APC plans to Islamise Nigeria[2]. In the same vein, the President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria countered the allegation and insisted that it was Amaechi who gathered 500 pastors around October 2014 and gave them money. Supporting Governor Ameachi was a Borno State based Pastor, Kallamu Musa-Dikwa who accused CAN of collecting N7bn (not N6bn) bribe from President Goodluck Jonathan to campaign against Buhari. From the accusations and counter accusation, there are strong probabilities that politicians have been attempting to influence church leaders so as to get their support to use the pulpit to persuade voters to their side.

  1. MONEY FOR THE THRONE: VISITS TO TRADITIONAL RULERS

There is virtually no state that the presidential train of the PDP goes for campaigns without visiting the leading traditional rulers of such states. This is also a common practice for the APC candidate. It can be observed that traditional leaders have strong influence on their followers; politicians believed that the support and endorsement of traditional rulers would automatically influence the choice of their followers on who to vote for. In Niger State, the President visited the Emir of Minna before proceeding to the venue of the campaign and the visit was reciprocated with the presence of an entourage of 150 camels and horse riders from the Emir’s Palace to display at the campaign ground. Each of the riders were mobilised and paid un-disclosed sum with branded PDP traditional attire. Visits of this nature have been replicated in the Palace of the Ochi-Idoma of Benue State, the Obi of Onitsha, the Obong of Calabar, the Oba of Lagos, etc. As Africans, we are aware of the popular proverb which says “no one goes before the king with empty hands”; if this be the case, it implies that all visits to traditional rulers ought to have been accompanied with substantial gifts worthy of a presidential candidate. However, the President normally visits traditional leaders especially when he is in their domain; but when such visits are calls for endorsement, there is every tendency that the President will pay the associated cost of endorsement whether in cash or in kind. This payment can either be solicited or unsolicited. The APC candidate has also visited many traditional rulers including the visit where he was given a chieftaincy title in Aba.

  1. N5BN ENDORSEMENT GIFT TEARS OHANEZE APART

There were reports of an initial resolve of Ohaneze ndi Igbo, an ethnic nationality group to reject the candidacy of President Goodluck Jonathan, for his inability to implement the promises he made to Ndi-Igbo during his first tenure. However, media reports of the sum of N5bn being used to induce the group emerged. The President of the group later announced the endorsement of Jonathan as the candidate of the ethnic groups This caused a major division in the group amidst allegations of mischief and inducement to the tune of N5bn.

  1. SALE OF PVCs

There have been reports of sale and snatching of PVCs in large quantities. Kayode Idowu, spokesman of the INEC chair, granted an interview on Channels Television on 15th of February 2015, in the programme tagged “Politics Today” where he advised against collecting PVCs by proxy. But some of the political parties have defied the instruction and gone ahead to sponsor those who troop into collection centers to obtain large quantities of PVCs. There are reports that the PVCs of some other voters have been shared to party members in some wards with the aim to rig the elections. A report published in the media stated that PVCs were being sold at N10,000 each[3]. The APC alleged that the PDP established an agro-allied outfit ostensibly to provide N50,000 loans for local women with the PVC as collateral to be deposited with the company[4]. Obviously, this act shows that the political parties and politicians involved in this act are ignorant of the functions of the card readers which INEC intends to use in conducting the general elections. The card reader is able to detect double vote and also would not recognise the voter holding the wrong PVC. But the concern is the fact that, in their state of ignorance, politicians are already spending huge resources wrongly in other to rig the election, whereas this illegal act would lead to the disenfranchisement of eligible voters.

  1. COST OF HATE CAMPAIGNS

Despite the Peace Accord signed by the candidates of the major political parties, on January 14th 2015, with a commitment to abide by the rules of the electoral process and to focus on issue based campaigns; and refrain from campaigns that would involve religious incitement, ethnic or tribal profiling, etc. In breach of this agreement, a daily hate documentary has been consistently aired for one hour on the past dictatorial government of the presidential candidate of the APC. This campaign is being aired in two major stations namely AIT, NTA. The airing of these documentaries for one hour cost about N5million each and over a hundred million naira would have been spent on the hate campaign. Pray, why would the PDP utilise this huge amount on misplaced campaigns when millions of Nigerians are hungry and poor. The documentary has been consistently aired since 15th of January 2015 alongside other advertisements meant to discredit the person of the APC candidate.

  1. RENT A CROWD

Available information indicates that the two major candidates and their political parties vis, APC and the PDP hire crowds. The business is “rent a crowd” to create the impression of large support and popularity in a state. For instance, in some of the states visited by our monitors (Niger, Nasarawa, Akwa Ibom, Cross Rivers, Plateau, etc); at PDP rallies, TAN mobilised participants from the various wards in the state with a provision of a minimum of N5000 per participant[5]. However, TAN was not always able to fulfill their promise and this led to scuffles and fights in most of the campaign grounds.

In Nassarawa State, the Igbo Women Association who were hired to the PDP rally in the State held hostage the TAN Coordinator, for not paying them the agreed fee of N4000 Naira. One of the female participants, who complained bitterly, lamented that she locked her shop for the whole day in anticipation of the amount promised, only for her to be disappointed. This scenario has been the trend in most of the campaign grounds visited. To corroborate this finding, there was a protest of PDP youth leaders and elders in Edo State against the Coordinator of the Goodluck/Sambo Campaign Organisation, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu over the alleged diversion of N1.5bn presidential largesse meant for the youth[6].

For those who hailed the APC for attracting a large crowd in places like Bayelsa, Cross River and Delta State; they would be disappointed to know that the party hired most of the crowd from other APC controlled states for the purpose of campaigns. The candidates and parties hire crowds in areas where they are not very popular.

  1. NO UPDATE ON BUHARI’S FUND RAISING ATTEMPTS

In our first report, we noted General Buhari’s popular attempt to raise funds from the grassroots through donations to his bank account and the use of social media. We also reported the contribution of yam farmers from some states in Northern Nigeria to raise the sum of N5billion through a contribution of 5million tubers of yam to be sold at N1000 each[7]. However, after the first report of the sums then raised by the popular campaign, no other reports have been forthcoming from the Campaign[8]. But Chidia Maduekwe, the Director of Media and Information Technology at the Buhari Support Organisation stated the crowd fundraising platform is still active and the campaign still receives inflows from there[9].

  1. ABUSE OF STATE RESOURCES

(A) Diversion of MDG Women Empowerment Programme Materials for Partisan Campaigns in Bayelsa: The MDG Women Empowerment Programme which was scheduled to take place earlier in the year before the campaign period was reported delayed until the campaign period. The First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan at the MDG Women Empowerment Programme distributed bags of rice which was branded with Mr. President’s picture to each of the women, others received sewing machines, tricycles, groundnut oil and wrappers. She called on over 50,000 women of Bayelsa to support the re-election of her husband[10]. The pictures below tell the story.

Again, there were reports that National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) grains, being distributed to persons internally displaced by Boko Haram’s rampage were branded with PDP logo and President Jonathan’s campaign slogans. This was heavily criticised by the APC campaign organisation[11].

The foregoing actions are clearly in contravention of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) which states that state apparatus shall not be used to the advantage or disadvantage of any political party or candidate at any election. It is also in contravention to the Code of Conduct of Political Parties 2013 which forbids incumbents from using the power of incumbency to the disadvantage of other political parties.

 (B) Branded Rice and Fertiliser Flood States: There are reports that President Goodluck Jonathan’s branded fertiliser and bags of rice had flooded major cities as part of campaign towards the re-election of the PDP candidate. These were made possible by the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) and Millennium Development Goals. In Jigawa State, these branded bags of fertilizer and rice with Jonathan picture on it and with the inscription ‘Vote for Jonathan’ came in 17 trucks which were distributed to women farmers in Dutse, Hadeji, Guri and Babura. According to Yunusa of the MGDs’ Office Dutse, 20,000 women have benefitted from the fertilisers and rice so far. Also, in other states, these bags of fertiliser and rice have been shared to women so as to win their votes.

This is an abuse of the power of incumbency. Even if the rice and fertiliser were not bought with public resources, it will be a bribe to induce people to vote for a candidate, to corrupt their morals and disrupt due process in elections which is contrary to S. 124 of the 2010 Electoral Act as amended.

(C) SURE-P Beneficiaries Now Canvasses Support for Jonathan: In all the states where the PDP candidate held a campaign/rally, the SURE-P beneficiaries formed a good part of the crowd at the venue. Dressed in blue Ankara under the umbrella organization known as Community Awareness Network (CAWAN), they were mobilised from all the wards in the state to the campaign venue upon the allocation of N5000 each. In Nassarawa State for example, the 13 Local governments brought 50 persons each to attend the rally. We recall the earlier reports about SURE-P that most of the beneficiaries of the programme are members of the ruling PDP with SURE-P being an avenue for a job for the boys. This has turned out to be true, with their mass involvement in the GEJ/Sambo 2015 Campaigns. This is also in breach of S. 100 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) and the Code of Conduct for Political Parties.

(D) Massive Deployment of Governments’ Official Vehicles and Aircrafts to Campaigns: The official vehicles of various State Governments of both the APC and PDP have accompanied their respective candidates to the campaign grounds. They have also deployed the vehicles of government agencies, commissions and parastatals. In Rivers State, about 30 SUVs with government plate numbers were used during the APC presidential campaign rally.

Aircrafts in the Presidential Fleet of the Federal Republic of Nigeria have been constantly deployed to the campaigns of the incumbent conveying the president, the vice president and other high ranking public officials and members of the ruling party. For instance, during the PDP presidentially rally in Lagos, three presidential aircrafts were used. This includes the presidential jets that brought President Goodluck Jonathan, Vice President Namadi Sambo and the Senate president. This trend has continued except when the rally is taking place in states that do not have an airport like, Ebonyi, Nasarawa and Kogi States where the President and his entourage are brought by choppers in the presidential fleet.

There were allegations by the River State PDP chapter that Governor Amaechi has been attending APC rallies with River State government owned aircraft. However, the fact remains that while the APC presidential candidate pays for its use of aircrafts, the ruling PDP uses the advantage of incumbency to ply the public jets at no cost. If the PDP is to pay for the cost of plying the jets, the candidate would have incurred costs exceeding N700m, for all the campaigns and rallies. These pictures tell a story[12].

The two parties and their candidates contravened the Electoral Act and the Code of Conduct for Political Parties which provides that state apparatus should not be utilised by incumbents in favor of their party to the disadvantage of the other political parties and candidates.

(E) NCC Tries to Frustrate Buhari’s Fundraising Efforts: The Court to the Rescue: In an apparent abuse of power, the Nigeria Communication Commission ordered the shutting down of the fund raising platform of the APC presidential candidate. The APC had successfully used the platform of mobile communication as part of its crowd funding measures to raise funds. In a directive issued under reference No:  NCC/CAB/GEN/2015/VOL.1/004 signed by the Director of Consumer Affairs, Mrs. Maryam Bayi, and the Head of Legal and Regulatory Services, Mrs. Yinka Akinloye, on behalf of the Executive Vice-Chairman of NCC), Dr. Eugene Juwah, the NCC shut down the Platform. But the Governor of Lagos State Babatunde Fashola who chairs the APC Campaign Fund Raising Committee rightly recalled that the NCC had also given the ruling PDP such right to use the communication platform to raise funds in 2011. According to Fashola, this offer was issued in a letter dated October 21, 2010, with reference no: NCC/TSMI /short Code/ Vol.9/044/ 2010 granting approval to the Goodluck/Sambo Presidential Campaign to use the same Platform. The Governor stated that the use of government institution to subdue the opposition is an undemocratic act and an abuse of state institutions to perpetrate coercion against the opposition; which does not promote fairness in electoral contest[13]. However, the court eventually declared the action of the NCC null and void and permitted APC to continue the use of the Platform.

(F) Governor Declares Public Holiday in Borno State for Presidential Candidate: The APC is not left out in the abuse of state administrative resources. The Governor of Borno State, a member of the APC abused state prerogative by declaring a public holiday in the state, to support the campaign/rally of its presidential candidate, Mohammadu Buhari which held in the state. The Governor urged the entire citizens of the State to come out en masse to receive General Buhari[14]. However, when the presidential candidate of the PDP visited the state for a rally, the Governor did not declare a public holiday. Clearly, this is a discriminatory use of power. Even the declaration by the Governor on its own is tainted with illegality because public holiday is item No. 51 on the Exclusive Legislative List reserved for the National Assembly. Indeed, the Governor has no power to declare a public holiday without reference and approval of the National Assembly. Thus, the declaration was unconstitutional.

  1. EXCESSIVE THIRD PARTY EXPENDITURE

The Anambra born Millionaire and PDP big wig, Chief Arthur Eze in his campaign for the re-election of President Goodluck Jonathan, donated seven vehicles manufactured by Innoson Group worth N2million each (totaling N14million) to seven persons to coordinate the PDP campaign in their localities. He equally donated N20million to Oraukwu Community and N25million to the widows and electorate, to ensure “they are eating” before elections comes. He equally gave N10million to a community in Dunukofia LGA for development projects in support of the Transformation Agenda of Mr. President. Also, Chief Emeka Offor was reported to have supported the Ebonyi State PDP Presidential Campaign with N400m. These donations are excessive and violate the provisions of the Electoral Act. By S.91 (9) of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended, no individual is permitted to donate more than N1m to a candidate and contravening this provisions carries a penalty of 9 months imprisonment or N500,000 fine or both.

 

  1. MACROECONOMIC FUNDAMENTALS AND THE CAMPAIGNS

 

Although declining oil prices contributed to Nigeria’s deteriorating macroeconomic fundamentals, the coincidence of campaign spending and the acceleration of the deterioration brings to the fore the inextricable link between election spending and the health of the economy. With the attention shifted from governance and a lot of expenditure on campaigns, the state of the economy in terms of depreciating exchange rate, inflation and reduced economic growth were bound to occur.

[1] Saturday, February 28th 2015

[2] See link on 4th February 2015 via http://www.punchng.com/news/. See also: Punch of February 25, 2015, Leadership Newspaper, February 20, 2015.

[3] See This Day newspaper of 11th February 2015 or visit http://www.thisdaylive.com/articles/pvcs-now-go-for-n10-000-each-alleges.

[4] Supra.

[5] In some states, the payment was N8000 – N3000 for feeding and N5000 as a fee per participant.

[6] See This Day of February 7, 2015 and the Punch newspaper of the same day.

[7] See the Nation newspaper of December 31 2014 at page 6.

[8] As at 7th of January 2015, the sum raised was N118.7m

[9] See This Day newspaper of February 25, 2015.

[10] Report of Accord for Community Development.

[11] This Day newspaper of February 18 2015: Buhari Faults PDP’s Branding of Food Donations to IDPs

[12] The first picture showing a vehicle from Maritime Academy of Nigeria was taken at the PDP presidential rally in Uyo. The aircraft is the presidential jet conveying the President to campaign/rally in Calabar and Uyo when it was taxing in Abuja. The third picture is from PDP rally in Lokoja, Kogi State while the fourth is from the PDP rally in Ilorin, Kwara State showing the bus from National Planning Commission in Abuja.

[13] This Day newspaper of January 23, 2015; http://www.thisdaylive.com/articles/fg-shuts-down-buhari-osinbajo-fundraising-platform

[14] See the Punch Newspaper of February 16th 2015.

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Second Campaign Finance and Use of State Administrative Resources Report In The 2015 Presidential Election
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