By uche Mbah
The prosecution of 2019 general elections has become a migrain for the ruling All Progressives congress, APC. The government come into power on the mantra of anti corruption, but critics accuse the government of selective amnesia when the issue of corruption in the presidency is involved. This has put the presidency in a tight corner as far as raising funds to prosecute the next years election is involved.
It could have been easy to simply use the National security Adviser to subpoena the funds as has been hitherto done in former elections, or to use the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, to fund the election since there may be little hope of crowd funding, but the scandal that has beset NNPC when the attempt was allegedly made resulted in an expose due to the bitter rivalry between the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Maikanti Baru and the Minister of state for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu. The approval of a fund by the presidency without due process ignited a scandal that nearly terminated the appointment of Kachikwu.
Only recently the Federal government announced that they will use the $322.52m ‘Abacha Loot’ For Social Safety Net Program. This was a novel idea, which critics insist is a way of siphoning money for election purposes. So many recovered “loot” are presently yet to be accounted for, a situation that spells misappropriation in no uncertain terms.
Next was the approval of the $1 billion for the fight against the Boko Haram insurgency, which the senate kicked against citing due process of senatorial screening and approval. In a desperate bid, the Presidency decided to jettison the backing hitherto given to the Party Chairman, John Oyegun, on tne tenure elongation issue, particularly when it became clear that the four elder statesman-Babangida, Obasanjo, Abdulsalami and Danjuma- have pitched their tents against Buhari re-contesting the 2019 presidential elections. He opted for the timing of Tinubu Birthday to foist a “Mea Culpa” on the Lion of Bourdillon, who he hopes may repeat the feat of 2015. Tinubu, a notorious political wheeler dealer, had dumped Jonathan in the run up to the 2018 presidential election because Jonathan refused to accept his terms, which sources described as greedy. But indications were that he gave such conditions to test the level of Jonathan desperation over the presidential ticket.
Buhari coming to Lagos was alleged to be a placatory mission. He was supposed to have handed over the party structure to him, and given him a carte blanche on the presidential initiative. This resulted in Tinubu trying to wield his powers in the determination of the direction the party is to go. Oyegun has been active in rallying the APC governors around himself to fight the tenure elongation issue. It now is Tinubu vs some governors, mostly the Northern ones.
It is believed that his fixation on acquiring as much money as possible is premised on the fact that, no matter the activities of opposition, the hungry electorates will be bought at the last minute. Delegates needed to be bought during the conventions, and dissidents hounded by security agencies until they toe the line. Hence the need to raise more money for the prosecution of the elections, even though Tinubu has a deep pocket. Buhari is still not taking chances with his loyalty judging from the ignominy with which he has treated Tinubu as regards the last agreements reached before 2015.
It was this that necessitated his trip to London far earlier than the Commonwealth heads of government ,CHOGM, meetings, was scheduled. Sources close to the presidency indicate that he went earlier, neither for health issues nor for rest, but to use the opportunity to sign a deal connected with the Bonga Field and the oil blocks associated with it. The preliminary discussions had been held before COGM, and this was actually a $15 billion but the underhand deals are meant to cushion the electioneering campaign. “that is the primary reason for the travel, aside CHOGM”, the source said.