It was a rain of Naira Saturday in Abuja as Peoples Democratic Party realized more than N21 billion at its fund-raising dinner towards next year’s general election from donors spanning business, elected government officials, and private individuals. Although the president, Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, who was billed to be the chief launcher, was absent at the dinner held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, the event received huge financial commitment from those present.
But the chairman of the PDP fund raising committee, Professor Jerry Gana, cautioned the party not to take the opposition All Progressives Congress for granted ahead of the coming elections.
Chief Tunde Ayeni opened the donations with N1 billion on behalf of himself and his group of friends. He also announced the donation of another N2 billion on behalf of a different group of friends he said came from across the country.
On his part, Gana donated N5 billion on behalf of his friends, while the National Automotive Council donated N450 million. The PDP Governors’ Forum, represented by the Bauchi State Governor, Isa Yuguda, announced a donation of N50 million by each of the 21 PDP state governors, making a total N1.05 billion. Yuguda was supported by the governors of Cross River, Bayelsa, and Gombe states while announcing the donation.
Bola Shagaya from Kwara state representing oil and gas industry donated N5 billion while the construction sector donated N310 million.
The chairman of Deep Offshore, Didi Ndimou, representing the Transport and Aviation sector donated N1 billion. The real estate sector represented by Oluchi Okoye donated N4 billion while the food and agricultural sector, represented by Chief Ominife Uzoegbu donated N500 million.
Also making donation at the event attended by President Goodluck Jonathan, his depty, Alhaji Namadi Sambo, Chief Tony Anenih and the PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Adamu Mua’zu among others, Cizaly Ltd donated N250 million while the representatives of the power sector led by Tunde Ayeni donated N500 million.
Other donors at the PDP fund raising dinner include the National Association of Stevedores’ Companies, N25 million; former governor of Ebonyi State Sam Egwu, N1 million; Halima Jubril, N5 million; and Ajuji Best Western Hotel, N1 million; among others.
Apparently referring to the threat the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) poses in the 2015 election, Gana, who is the chairman of the PDP Fund Raising committee said PDP must not underestimate the opposition.
He equally warned that unlike the previous elections, 2015 will be keenly contested.
He cautioned PDP against taking anything for granted, adding that the 2015 election would be very competitive.
Gana charged the party to use its campaign to show Nigerians what it had achieved for the country in the last 16 years.
“Let me use this opportunity to say that the forthcoming general election is essentially going to be a two-party affair. It will be very competitive.
“I therefore appeal to the leadership of our great party that we must not take things for granted. We must campaign. We must not underestimate the opposition. We have to show people what we have done in the last 16 years.
“Having a very good candidate is very important and I can tell everyone that our presidential candidate is good” Gana said.
He stressed that the recently held primaries of the party, had widened the gulf within the party is some states.
Gana however warned PDP’s leadership against imposing unpopular candidates on Nigerians.
“I must tell you that we have serious challenges and difficulties in a number of states arising from the primaries. And I want to appeal that our party’s leadership must not impose unpopular candidates on the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria” Gana said.
He expressed confidence that PDP would coast home to victory at the polls.
The national chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Adamu Muazu, said the party needed financial resources to prosecute the 2015 general elections.
But in Lagos this Tuesday, Rivers State governor and director general of the Muhammadu Buhari campaign organisation, Governor Chibuike Amaechi, would set up a team of persons he intends to work with in driving the 2015 aspiration of the All Progressives Congress presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari.
It was also gathered at the weekend that APC might announce the official launch date for its presidential campaign during a meeting on Monday in Abuja.
Amaechi already has Senator Olorunimbe Mamora as his deputy and a former Commissioner for Information and Strategy in Lagos State, Mr. Oladele Alake, as head of the media department of the campaign organisation. The governor was said to have hinted that the APC presidential election campaign would be strictly issue-based.
Amaechi, who is expected to hit the ground running regarding the presidential drive when he flies into Lagos tomorrow, would earlier in the day kick off the APC governorship campaign in Rivers State.
A source close to the governor said the APC campaign was about giving Nigerians the opportunity to choose “between light and darkness; between success and failure and between failed promises and track record.”
The APC member, who preferred anonymity because he was not authorised to speak on the issue, said, “There is no time to waste and this much Amaechi knows. We have less than two months to campaign, so there is no luxury of time. The interesting thing is that Amaechi is very excited about the job; he wants to bring panache to the campaign and set a new pace electioneering in the body polity. That is why once the team is constituted on Tuesday, everybody settles down to work immediately.”
Speaking on preparations for the campaign, Mohammed, said the Independent National Electoral Commission had fixed Friday as the official date for the commencement of election campaigns by all political parties in the country. He said APC leaders would meet to decide on the appropriate date to begin its nationwide campaigns. By this arrangement, APC has about 49 days to prosecute its presidential campaign.
Buhari has secured a new head office in the heart of Abuja for his campaign. The office, a three-storey complex, is located on Herbert Macaulay Way, near the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Towers, in the Central Area of the Federal Capital Territory.
A member of the Buhari campaign team, Mr. Salisu Suleiman, said, “We are working on the finishing touches and hopefully we will be opening the campaign office formally this week.”
The party source said the National Working Committee would be sitting on Monday to consider appeals and petitions arising from the governorship primaries in states where the exercise was being challenged