A former Minister for Information and the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party Fund-raising Committee, Prof. Jerry Gana, has explained that the N21.8bn donated to the PDP at a recent fund-raising dinner in Abuja is not meant for the presidential campaign of President Goodluck Jonathan alone.
The donation, which came from captains of industry, individuals, groups and even governors of the ruling party, who have not been able to pay salaries of civil servants in their states, had received widespread condemnation.
The main opposition party, the All Progressives Congress and eminent individuals in the country, including Senior Advocates of Nigeria, had condemned the action, saying it violated the 2010 Electoral Act (as amended).
But addressing journalists in Abuja on Monday, Gana said that the abandoned site of the party’s permanent headquarters would also benefit from the fund.
He spoke at the party’s permanent site located at the Central Area of Abuja.
Gana said, “This administration of the party resolved that we must complete this project so that we can move here and so part of the preparations for this year’s campaign is for us to raise funds and I had the honour of leading a very distinguished team of Nigerians to prepare for the fund raising.
“We raised about N21bn on that day and the purpose of this press conference is to say that right from the start, we were raising money for the PDP and the projects of the party. The documents and letters said so, the speeches confirmed it during the day of the fund raising. In my own speech and the speech of the Vice President (Namadi Sambo), who happens to be an architect, showed that there was a specific focus on this building that this is one project we want to complete.
“The Vice-President, being an architect, gave graphic details of where we were on this project and how we desired to go ahead and therefore, the central aim of the fund-raising is to empower the party to complete this building and other projects.
“The second is of course, to empower the party to campaign for its candidates, not for the President alone but for others and the Presidential candidate has the right to raise fund for his campaign quietly.
“I am not the chairman of that fund raising team but I am sure the President will appoint somebody and I am sure they are already working hard and being a humble Nigerian, he wants to do it quietly and people will donate to him, people who believe in his candidature of the PDP.
“So, we want to make it clear that the money raised was for the PDP and a substantial part of it will be for the completion of this building”.
He pointed out that N10bn was needed for the completion of the party’s permanent site.
On whether the party and President Jonathan would have the moral justification to visit the North-East for campaign when neither the President nor the party leadership had not visited the zone over security challenges facing the area, Gana answered in the affirmative.
He said, “We are going to campaign in Maiduguri, Damaturu, everywhere.
“But the issue is capacity. This is a party with capacity, others have scattered long ago.
“The PDP remains focused since 1999 and we have never changed. People will go for experience, they will go for capacity”.