By Ahmed Abubakar
The national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has defended the donation of N21.27bn to its presidential campaign by some individuals and governors in the party, whereby the governors collectively donated N1.05bn.
Some of the critics wondered why the party and President Goodluck Jonathan would also collect donations from governors who were unable to pay salaries to workers in their states.
Some lawyers, including Senior Advocates of Nigeria, have also called for the prosecution of the party and the donors. But the party said that those criticising the party and President Goodluck Jonathan for the money were merely bellyaching.
The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Prof. Wale Oladipo, who spoke in an interview with our correspondent in Abuja on Monday, said the party did not flout any law in raising the funds.
Oladipo said those criticising the party were free to do so, adding that “comments are free” and that those speaking against the donation were ignorant of the law.
He said those complaining about the donation might also not be aware that some group of individuals came together to make donations, adding that Nigerians should know that a presidential campaign is money-spinning in Nigeria.
Oladipo said, “Comments are free. But Nigerians should know that elections and campaigns are money-spinning; they cost money. But let me add that as long as the fund-raising we did was and is still within the armpit of the law, then we have not breached any law.
“What we did was legitimate. We didn’t force anyone to donate at all. You may wish to know that some employees came together to donate. Those bellyaching are busybodies, but let them know that what we did is within the law and the Constitution is not against it.”
Oladipo assured Nigerians and members of the party, including the donors, that the money would be judiciously spent.
On the submission of the party’s candidate’s names to the Independent National Electoral Commission, Oladipo said the party was not having problems in this regards.
Already, he said the party had submitted the names of its 109 senatorial candidates to the commission.