Why we stopped APC fundraising scheme, by NCC
BARELY 24 hours after the All Progressives Congress (APC) instructed its lawyers to commence legal action against the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for allegedly shutting down some of the party’s fundraising schemes, the agency has said that the rules guiding such schemes were not followed by the telecom operator that gave the party platform.
Answering questions from journalists at the opening of the third African Preparatory Meeting for World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-15) on Monday in Abuja, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Dr Eugene Juwah, who stated that the commission is a public service agency insisted that even though people are allowed to raise money, they must conform to the rules.
He said: “We are not political, we are public service agency, people are allowed to raise money but they must conform to the rules. We didn’t make these rules looking at elections but in the interest of development of the telecommunications industry, and will keep those rules whether there is election or not.”
The Buhari-Osinbajo Presidential Campaign Fundraising Committee, headed by Mr. Fashola, launched some of its platforms for raising funds, but the Short Messaging Service (SMS) platform – 35350 – meant to encourage small donors, especially young people, was shut down last week.
APC, while accusing NCC of double standards, alleged that in 2010, approval was given to the Jonathan/Sambo campaign organisation to raise funds using such a platform while the party (APC) is now being denied the same right in 2015.
But a credible source at the commission told The Guardian that “NCC advised telecom operators generally not to carry any political advert for any political party, whether the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the All Progressives Congress(APC) or any other party whatsoever as it might portray them to be partisan. It depends on what the operator told them. The instruction applies to all the political parties. What EVC meant is that anything about our regulation, we take decision without looking at the political parties, it has nothing to do with the political parties, we don’t even tackle any body or party, it is the operators that we tackle. We don’t want to join issues with anybody, our relationship is with the telecom operators and if we issue regulations, they have no respect for any political party. The letter written to telecom operators concerning political advert affects everybody, that is, an operator.
“If an operator had applied for particular approval, it would have been looked at on its merit. The short code was offered to them by the operators but the operator did not apply to NCC.”
He noted that the 2010, approval given to the Jonathan/Sambo campaign organization was approved by the NCC, adding that the same approval was given to the Lagos State governor, Babatunde Fashola, for his 2011 governorship campaign.
“Governor Fashola talked about Jonathan, the advert by the Jonathan/Sambo campaign organization in 2010 was approved by NCC. Also, the same approval was given to the Lagos State governor, Babatunde Fashola that time, but they were not on carriage platform. It is not only Jonathan, he should have said NCC approved my own application and also that of Jonathan.,” the source said.