Calls For Probe Of APC’s Campaign Funds Misplaced- Oyegun

John Odigie-OyegunThe All Progressives Congress (APC) has faulted calls for probe into the funding of its presidential campaign in 2015, which brought President Muhammadu Buhari to power.
The calls were made by a section of Nigerians against the backdrop of probe of the source of funding of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, which was ousted from power last year by the APC.
Specifically, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, alleged that $2.1 billion originally meant for arms purchase to fight Boko Haram in the Northeast, was diverted by the former National Security Adviser, NSA, Sambo Dasuki, to fund the re-election of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
The immediate past Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke, is also being probed by the anti-graft agency for allegedly distributing $115 million (N23 billion) during the election.
Already, the EFCC has filed several cases against Mr. Dasuki and several other PDP chieftains, accused of benefitting from the largesse, which came from the treasury.
However, some Nigerians have said for the anti-corruption campaign of the present administration to be regarded as impartial and all encompassing, the funding of APC’s presidential campaign should also be scrutinized by the anti-graft agency.
For instance, former Director-General of the APC Presidential Campaign Organization and Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has been accused by the PDP of using Rivers State money to oil the political machinery of the Buhari campaign.
Mr. Amaechi, who was Rivers Governor, spearheaded the APC presidential campaign that defeated Mr. Jonathan and PDP in the 2015 presidential campaign.
Speaking on “The Encounter with Constance Ikowu”, a programme on WEFM, the national chairman of APC, Chief John Odigie- Oyegun said that it was wrong to ask the EFCC to investigate the sources of funding for the APC campaign because unlike the PDP, his party did not use public money to fund its presidential election.
He said, “You are comparing apples and grapes. It is the people’s money. You can’t use the money of the people to run parties and so the APC today is suffering from that basic correct policy decision.
“But campaign funds cannot come from the monies that belong to the generality of Nigerians.
“Individuals can donate, and companies can donate subject to limits that the law provides. We are not touching those. But where you take monies meant for positioning troops in the North East to fight against Boko Haram to fund parties (and) the most recent – when you take our crude, gave unregistered crude to exporters, repatriate the proceeds and use them to finance your political campaigns – that is wrong. That is impunity at its worst. So they are not comparable”.
Stating that the PDP campaign funds being investigated by the EFCC was “just a tip of the iceberg”, Mr. Oyegun clarified that the Buhari-led APC administration was not probing the donations individuals made to the PDP during the polls, but the utilization of public funds.
“So don’t link it with the PDP because it has nothing to do with the PDP”, he stressed.
The APC national chairman said the Buhari administration was trying to lay down principles which must be followed by all with a view to removing impunity in governance.
“We are laying down the principles that must be established in this nation. What is going on now is just a tip of the iceberg. There are certain basic principles we must establish in this nation”.
Oyegun also revealed that there were serving APC governors and ex-governors under investigation currently but not in connection with campaign funding as was the case of the PDP.
He, however, stressed that President Buhari would not shield any of the governors if they were found to have used public monies to fund campaigns.
“As at today, of course there are APC governors and ex governors that are under investigation, maybe not in respect or specifically campaign funds, but there are”, said Mr. Oyegun.
“The basic principle is – impunity must be removed from the system and wherever the tree falls, so let it be!
“I am sure that if that happens, the kind of president that we have will look the other way. Normal process must take its course”.
On calls for the arrest of Mr. Jonathan, the APC national chairman “I cannot speak for the government; I can speak for the party. Wherever the tree falls so be it. I don’t think it will get to that. What is important is that if you receive stolen goods…..”