Pat Utomi, professor of political economy and a chieftain of the Labour Party (LP), says the portals for donations to Peter Obi’s presidential campaign would be launched next week.
He said the portals would accept donations from Nigerians both home and abroad.
The professor disclosed this on Channels Television while he was featured on Sunday Politics.
According to Utomi, he said there is nothing wrong with Nigerians living abroad donating funds to political campaigns in Nigeria.
He said he enjoyed the same gesture when he ran to be the president of the country in the past.
“When the time is right, the diaspora will give money. They have always given money to campaigns. I ran for president before and got support from the diaspora in 2006 and 2007 and then when I ran in 2011,” he said.
“When the time is right, we are going to obviously solicit from Nigerians across the board. We are setting up portals where people can give money.
“These portals are not up yet. They would be up next week or so and eventually we are going to be able to access resources from the diaspora for sure. But right now, we are on a sensitisation tour about what makes democracy work. Right now, Nigeria’s democracy is not working because of the transaction cost involved and the trade-off that has to be made.”
He added that there should be no law stopping those living in the diaspora from funding political activities in Nigeria.
“I am completely aware of what the law says. If we open a portal and say Nigerians who want to support what we stand for should contribute to it. If you say Nigerians abroad can’t go to a portal and contribute a dollar and those at home. First of all, you have prevented them from voting,” he said.
“Every other African country manages to allow their diaspora to vote – Ghana, Kenya, everybody. In Nigeria, they can’t vote because Nigerian politicians are afraid that because they are more clear-thinking voters, they will not likely win elections.
“Currently, bad-performing politicians are afraid that right-thinking Nigerians abroad will vote. Now you say they can’t even give N100 to a candidate. Are you clear with what you are saying?
“What we are saying is that we are going to have a portal that every Nigerians can go in and make their contribution. What can be more democratic than that? If there is a law that opposes that, that law is fundamentally flawed and does not deserve the name of the law.”
Some Nigerians are already expressing their mixed feelings over Utomi’s remark, saying funding campaigns from abroad violates the country’s laws.
Some argued that the 1999 constitution as amended and the Electoral Act 2022 forbid political parties from taking funds donated from outside the country.
Specifically, Section 85 of the 2022 Electoral Act, says no political party must “holds or possess any fund outside Nigeria” or “retains any fund or other asset remitted to it from outside Nigeria” in contravention of section 225 (3) of the constitution.
The provisions in the Act stipulate that the punishment upon conviction shall be forfeiture of such funds or assets in addition to an N5,000,000 fine.
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