All Progressives Congress (APC), Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, has denied any financial link with any Arab country in aid of his electioneering.
Also on Wednesday, Buhari’s campaign organisation made some readjustments in its structure by appointing Garba Shehu, a media aide to former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, as the new Head of Media and Publicity for the campaign team.
Shehu will now take over from a former Lagos State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Dele Alake, who has been operating in that capacity.
Buhari’s denial came through his Chief of Staff, Col. Hamid Ali (rtd), who spoke to journalists in Abuja on Wednesday during an interactive session with several groups supporting the Buhari presidential bid.
When asked to confirm whether Buhari would also be funded by some Arab countries, as it was reported, Ali said: “It is not true. I am part of the campaign; I am in the centre of it and I don’t know of any Arab man that has spoken to us. So it is untrue, it is false.”
Speaking also on the controversy over Buhari’s academic qualifications, Ali said the former head of state went through the military training and got admitted into schools in the UK, adding that if Buhari does not have the required qualifications, he would not in the first place be admitted as a cadet.
“So, from that time on, he has gone through so many courses and so many training, and I am surprised that today at 72 somebody is talking about the issue of certificate, after he has run for three presidential elections, and this is the fourth one.
“So, why is it today that someone is talking about credentials? What did INEC use to clear him before now?” he queried.
Meanwhile, the various campaign support groups under the aegis of the Buhari Support Organisation (BSO) on Wednesday said their fund-raising efforts, known as Buhari Crowd-Funding Initiative had so far yielded a total of N118, 702, 265. 36.
While addressing the gathering, the convener of the meeting of the Buhari Support Groups, Ali, said the tracking of the campaign fund being raised by the groups is in keeping with Buhari’s avowed commitment to accountability and transparency.
He explained that the sum of N54 million was realised as at December 24, 2014, while an additional N64,702,265.36 was contributed to the fund as at Wednesday.
Ali further said the intention of the interactive session was to examine the challenges being encountered by the support groups in the fields and how best to achieve their target of installing an APC government at the centre.
“As the campaign enters its crucial stage, just about five weeks to the February 14 presidential election, it is important we review the activities of over 85 Buhari support groups that are operating under the umbrella of the Buhari Support Organisation with over eight million individual members across Nigeria, going by our records.
“We do not have the budget in the sense that in the Buhari’s camp, we believe that our goodwill will work for us. We need this money because if we have to go to the press, we need money for advertisements, so we want as much money as we can gather. We don’t want to sit down and say we want to spend N21 billion because we don’t have that money but we want to spend what we can have in our hands for the progress of the campaign,” he said.
When asked to tell Nigerians whether the campaign team would rely only on the money they raised to carry out the campaign, Ali said: “Buhari has said that he will organise a launch to get funds, purposely from the lower people because he wants the commitment of the people and to remember when he gets to the office that it is the sweat of the people that got him there and by that he will be more committed to serve them.”
He confirmed that the campaign team is also getting money from other sources who might not necessarily buy card before donating to the course, adding that if such money is deposited into the account and the source is known they would also make it known to the public.
“Today’s interactive session with you leaders of various groups supporting the election of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari and Prof. Yemi Osinbajo is to give you an update on the progress we have made in our mobilisation work across the country through your patriotic efforts and also to let you know how much we have raised through our crowd funding efforts via sales of BSO cards and direct donations to BSO First Bank Account.
“We salute the courage and commitment of Nigerians across ethnic and religious divides who desire true change and confidence in the ability of Gen. Buhari to provide the leadership that will secure our nation and prosper our people,” he said.
Beyond the assurance of receiving no Arab funding, the campaign organisation re-iterated its resolve to run an issue-based campaign and not engage in personality attack.
At the inauguration of his presidential campaign, President Jonathan had advised his campaign handlers to focus on issue-based campaign devoid of personal attacks on political opponents.
Reacting to Jonathan’s advice, Buhari’s campaign organisation said it was more than pleased to focus the 2015 election campaign on issues.
According to a statement by the Director, Media and Publicity of the campaign organisation, Mallam Garba Shehu, the security challenges have put the Jonathan administration out of its depth, and that the government has run out of ideas.
The APC campaign organisation said the purported improvements of the economy are merely on paper and only reminiscent of George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”.
It said no government could boast of improving the economy when the quality of life for the majority of the citizens is getting rapidly worse.
The statement noted that “you can’t run an economy on unworkable economic thieves that haven’t impacted positively on the lives of Nigerians in practice”.
It wondered how a government that strikes deals with corrupt persons in return for political support should preach about issue-based campaign, adding that on all the issues facing Nigerians, the PDP has failed the citizens.
iNspired by: This day