Wednesday, 29th November 2023

Sowore spends N40m on presidential poll, challenges APC, others to declare campaign expenses

By Kehinde Olatunji (Lagos) and Sodiq Omolaoye (Abuja)
21 June 2023   |   4:20 am
The African Action Congress (AAC) has challenged candidates of other political parties to borrow a leaf from their presidential candidate, Omoyele Sowore, and make public their campaign financing sources and expenses utilised in the just concluded 2023 general elections.

PHOTO: Facebook/Omoyele Sowore

IPC begins tracking of Tinubu’s campaign promises, seeks constitutional protection for journalists
The African Action Congress (AAC) has challenged candidates of other political parties to borrow a leaf from their presidential candidate, Omoyele Sowore, and make public their campaign financing sources and expenses utilised in the just concluded 2023 general elections.

AAC made this call in a statement signed and issued yesterday by their National Publicity Secretary, Femi Adeyeye.

In a document released by the party, over N40 million was donated to fund AAC’s presidential campaign, with about N38.3 million realised from donations, and the rest of about N1.8 million coming from Sowore’s personal funds.

According to AAC and the Sowore Political Action Committee (SPAC), the public release of the final breakdown of the 2023 Presidential election campaign donations, sources of finance, and expenditure is in keeping with best campaign practice and the spirit of accountability.

“Recall that the committee gave monthly updates during the campaign and this is not the first time the committee will be releasing a breakdown such as this. In 2019, the AAC candidate also released a complete breakdown of campaign expenses, the first recorded in the history of electioneering campaigns in Nigeria’s history.”

According to the party, the sum of N40,146,674.53 was received as income while N40,193,546.03 was expended for the campaign. And as of March 31, 2023, the sum of N90,101.21 balance was in its bank account.

Explaining how the donor’s money was spent, SPAC said N5,030,000.00 was spent on campaign action/party activities; N1,233,623.89 for subscription; N3,198,000.00 on printing cost; N2,500,000.00 on media logistics and N21,065,820.00 for conveyance.

The group added that N2,290,000 was used for security and other volunteers, N1,627,000 for maintenance cost, N20,000 for consumables, N1,343,800 for welfare and N80,302.14 for bank charges during the period.

The breakdown of expenses from the personal funds, which was N1,805,000 include: N200,000 for printing cost, N1,535,000 for conveyance and N70,000 for maintenance cost.

The Campaign Organisation, therefore, challenged other presidential candidates, including President Bola Tinubu, to release their campaign finances.

“We sincerely hope that those who sought public donations during the campaign season will also show to Nigerians the donations they got from the campaign donors across Nigeria and beyond.

“We can’t have a clean leadership recruitment process in this country with people who shroud their campaign spending in secrecy. We believe that those who can’t keep books of campaign expenses and transparently account for the expenses incurred can’t run a country like Nigeria properly.”

MEANWHILE, as the administration of President Tinubu takes shape, the International Press Centre (IPC) has launched a compendium to track the campaign promises of the president. The document contained the campaign promises made by Tinubu during the electioneering period.

IPC’s Executive Director, Lanre Arogundade, revealed this at a stakeholders’ roundtable presentation of documented campaign promises of the president and launch of media election IOs and Web app on Tuesday in Abuja.

He noted that one major issue thrown up at every election cycle in the country is the debate on whether politicians contesting for public offices would fulfill the promises made during electioneering if elected or not.

This trust deficit has been a challenge with politicians since the nation returned to democratic rule in 1999, making it difficult for members of the public to believe most of the campaign promises or commitments made.

Arogundade stressed the need to document and track the promises made by the politicians during the campaign, adding that this would ensure accountability and transparency in governance.

He said: “During the campaigns, we documented the campaign promises of all the presidential candidates which is normally our tradition to publish that of the president so that we can look at his promises in our respective beats, maybe in the area of sports, health education, whichever appeals to us and we can then begin to look at how they are implemented.

“These days, we talk of solution driven journalism, but you can’t have solutions when you don’t pick promises, follow them up and ensure that they are actually implemented. We also need to ask questions if there are challenges of implementation or if there are changes to that plan. That is what we call democratic accountability.

“We would have been happy if we were able to document the campaign promises of all elected governors as well. This is one of the challenges that we’re throwing to our colleagues. Anybody can do this.”

While lamenting that the media have not lived up to expectations in terms of holding political office holders accountable, Arogundade said it was time the media stopped allowing politicians to set the agenda, especially during elections.

He added: “I will say that we have not lived up to expectations in that aspect. One of the things we talked about in terms of the role of the media is to set an agenda at elections but often it is the politicians that set the agenda for us and they are clever at doing this.

They come up with statements, they attack themselves and we’ll begin to report that and then forget the issues.

On his part, media aide to the president, Tunde Rahman, assured Nigerians that the president would fulfill all promises made during the campaign.

Rahman, represented by a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Ayo Oyalowo, said with just a few weeks in office, Tinubu has demonstrated that he will not disappoint Nigerians with some key actions he had taken.

He said: “I remember the president during his acceptance speech, said and I quote, I will form a government of national competence. Now we can see that from the few appointments he has made. This is a president that is prepared to govern. I can tell you that this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are greater things to come in the coming days.”