A former Minister for Information and Chairman for the Peoples Democratic Party Fund-raising Committee, Prof. Jerry Gana, has said the controversial N21.8b donated to the ruling party by individuals, serving governors and private consortium at a recent Fund-raising event held at the Presidential Villa in Abuja about a month ago was not meant for the presidential campaign of President Goodluck Jonathan alone.
The donation, which came even from governors of the party who have not been able to pay salaries of civil servants in their states up till now, had received condemnation across the country.
The main opposition party, the All Progressives Congress and eminent individuals in the country, including Seniors Advocates of Nigeria, have expressed concern over the donation, which was done inside the Presidential Villa.
Some said it was an infraction on the 2010 Electoral Act, (as amended), while others said the names of the donours must be made public.
In response to these accusations, the National Secretary of the party, Prof. Wale Oladipo had told THE PUNCH in an exclusive interview that the party had the right to raise funds for its campaigns.
He said the donations were within the law.
But addressing journalists in Abuja on Monday, Gana who spoke in the midst of members of the party’s fund-raising committee, said the abandoned site of the party’s permanent site, would also benefit from the money.
Gana spoke at the party’s permanent site located at the Central Area of Abuja.
He said the purpose of the fund-raising was also to raise money for the completion of the party’s permanent site and not for Presidential campaign alone.
Gana said, “This administration of the party under our able chairman resolved that we must complete this project so that we can move there 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 N21 billion 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 project of the party, the documents and letters said so, the speeches confirmed it and during the day of the fund raising, in my own speech and the speech of the Vice President who happens to be an architect, 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 desire to be, 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. 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, people who believe in his victory as the candidate 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 N10 billion was needed for the completion of the party’s permanent site.
According to him, “As already noted, we need over N10billion to conclude it and so, even if we raise and we hope that we are going to raise more, half of the money is already going to be for the building and other projects.
“So, we want to lay to rest all the permutations and the discussions and all what is going on in the media about us raising more than the law allows for our candidate, that is not the correct position.
” We set out to raise funds for PDP project and the committee worked so hard and we succeeded. The committee did much more than we expected.”