A former Minister for Information and the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Fund-raising Committee, Prof. Jerry Gana, yesterday said that the N21.8bn donated to the PDP at a recent fund-raising in Abuja is not meant for the presidential campaign of President Goodluck Jonathan.
The party had last December raised N21billion from donors including businessmen, elected government officials and private individuals during a presidential fund raising dinner at the Aso Rock Villa, ahead of the 2015 election.
However, the Presidency and the party had come under intense criticisms for raising such amount on the grounds that it flouted the Electoral Act on party campaigns, just as some PDP governors were lambasted for contributing N50million while state workers were being owed salaries.
The Fund-raising committee chairman of the party while addressing a press conference at the permanent site of the national secretariat of the PDP in Abuja, on Monday explained that the money would mainly be used to complete the new party building. According to him, about N6 billion has, so far, been committed into the construction of the 12-storey edifice.
Gana added that part of the money realised would be used to build capacity of democratic institutions within the PDP, including the Peoples Democratic Institute (PDI), aiding party offices across the country, as well as party candidates in the forthcoming general election.
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 said that N10bn was needed for the completion of the party’s permanent site.
Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan suspended the inauguration of his presidential campaign committee billed to hold at 2pm yesterday, following the death of his younger sister, Mrs Nancy Jonathan-Olei. The event will hold today.