The Nigerian Federal Government has moved against the plan by some Nigerians in Diaspora to help fund the Presidential campaign of the Labour Party candidate, Peter Obi, with Chairperson, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa, cautioning Nigerians abroad against flouting the nation’s electoral law.
Dabiri-elewa said that much as they desire to be part of the political process, they must adhere to Nigerian laws in their bid to raise campaign funds in support of Presidential candidates of their choice for the 2023 general elections.
And the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, in a Social Media post warned that “any Nigerian who lives abroad, funding the campaign of Peter Obi shall be arrested. It is against our electoral laws.”
Supporters of the Presidential candidate of the Labour Party are set to launch to launch crowdfunding initiatives with the unveiling of a crowdfunding portal with a target to raise $150 million from the Diaspora and N100 billion from those in Nigeria.
But the NIDCOM chairperson, who spoke during the 2022 Annual General Meeting of the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation Americas (NIDOA) held at the Nigeria Consulate in New York Saturday evening said: “I’ve been
hearing stories that you’re going to raise this money for one person or the other person. Whatever you do, don’t
break the laws of elections and funding in Nigeria. I think that’s very important.
“So, I won’t encourage you to break any law relating to political funding; you know how it’s operated in America. Ensure you observe the laws also in Nigeria. So, as we move on, I can guarantee you that under this administration, we’ll continue to protect our Diasporans.
“I urge you as the president always says three things: be good ambassadors, obey the laws of whatever countries
you’re and let’s continue to be proud of you and what you’re doing.”
She added: “I know that you can’t vote in 2023, but don’t be disappointed. Rather, you need to work harder to lobby the National Assembly to make it possible for the Diasporans to be able to vote. However, you have the voice and use your voice to urge all eligible voters to vote.”
Dabiri-Erewa spoke just as a group under the auspices of Tinubu-Shettima Connect, has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to, without delay, disqualify the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Mr. Peter Obi, and his running mate, Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed, from the 2023 presidential election.
The group has also threatened to commence legal action, intending to join Peter Obi, his running mate and INEC, to prevent Labour Party from participating in the 2023 presidential election for engaging in activities that contravene the Electoral Act 2022.
In a statement signed by its convener, Adebanjo Moyosore, the group said it was not only illegal to raise campaign funds from abroad through unknown sources or unidentified groups but there is also dire consequences and implications for such act.
Abubakar Malami, in the Social Media post warned stated: “One thing Nigerians who based abroad failed to understand is that they cannot stay there and detect to us how to govern our country. Someone will seat in United States of America and be telling us what to do and what not to do as if we don’t know what we are doing in this country.
“If you violate the electoral law, you will face the penalty squarely and we will do everything within our power to prosecute both you and the candidate you are funding his campaign.
“We’ve received a signal that some individuals, mostly Nigerians living abroad have taken it upon themselves to fund the campaign of Mr Peter Obi who’s the Presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the forthcoming Presidential election.
“What these individuals failed to understand is that Nigerian is a democratic nation governed by democratic rules and regulations. It is against the electoral act for those living abroad to sponsor any candidate in an election. Those involved should desist from such act or have us to contend with. We will resist it by all means. Such fund cannot enter Nigeria. Although we have put measures on ground to apprehend those who will get themselves involved in such an act.”