Lagos lawyer and human rights activist, Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, has faulted a presidential aspirant of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) for obtaining a bank loan of N27.5m to procure the party’s expression of interest and nomination form to enable him contest the 2015 presidential election.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria made this remark on Thursday in Abeokuta, Ogun State, while speaking at the Nigeria Union of Journalists Paramount FM chapel press week.
Falana noted that the action of the former head of state was indefensible, stressing that it amounted to monetisation of politics.
Gen. Buhari (retd), had last week while picking up the forms at the national secretariat of the APC in Abuja, regretted that he could not get his party to review downwards, the N27.5 million fee for the expression of interest and nomination forms.
“It’s a pity I couldn’t influence this amount to be reviewed downward as was done in the case of the ladies. I looked left and right, I couldn’t read sympathy on anybody’s face”, he said, adding that “N27 million is a big sum. Thankfully, I have personal relationship with the manager of my bank in Kaduna and I told him that very soon the forms are coming, so, whether I am on red, or green or even black please honour it otherwise I may lose the nomination”.
In his reaction to the disclosure, Falana said: “It is indefensible for Gen. Buhari to have obtained a loan facility of N27.5m just to obtain a form of intent to contest in the presidential election in 2015 under the All Progressives Congress.
“Is he going to obtain another loan during his campaign? Because in Nigeria, it costs billions of naira to run a presidential campaign”.
The legal luminary, who was the guest lecturer at the event, spoke on the topic: ‘Current Security Challenges: Implication for 2015 Elections’.
On the coverage of the 2015 election, Falan counseled journalists not to give undue advantage to any candidate, but should give all of them equal coverage, devoid of ethnic or religious colouration.
He also advised them to stay away from phony politicians who would want to play to the gallery, but should rather focus on issues.
He said, “Journalists must show more than a passing interest on how those aspirants want to manage the economy. The government must address mass illiteracy, corruption and poverty”.
Falana explained that Nigeria was confronting security challenges such as kidnapping, armed robbery, terrorism, human trafficking because of the high unemployment rate.
He, therefore, urged the government to wake up and fight the security challenges confronting the nation the same way the Ebola scourge was contained.
“Government gave Ebola Virus Disease attention because it is no respecter of anybody. But government is not conscious of the security of the people because they have security guards protecting them”, he said.
The event, which also featured award presentation to deserving members of staff, was attended by the Ogun State Deputy Governor, Prince Segun Adesegun, the state NUJ chairman, Mr. Wole Sokunbi, and the secretary, Mr. Soji Amosu, among others.