President Muhammadu Buhari reiterated his commitment to the elimination of corruption in campaign financing, saying he will not authorise the use of funds from the public treasury for his re-election campaign.
Dr. Saraki, who is the campaign director for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar, condemned what he called the stifling of financial institutions from supporting political campaigns.
Buhari spoke after of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting. Saraki spoke on a Channels Television programme One-on-One monitored in Lagos.
The President directed Council members to take advantage of technology to reach out to voters on the need to return the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led administration in the forthcoming general elections.
In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu made available to PMParrot, the President said: “As political parties spread their ideologies and views to every nook and cranny of the country, the issue of cash payment to voters and its corrupting influence in electioneering has once again become a topical issue.
“Try and use text and multi-media messages to seek votes for the party and government. There is no money from the treasury for use in the campaigns. I will not authorise that,” he said.
President Buhari declared that the APC-led administration has a clear development agenda best suited to take Nigeria forward and sustain economic development.
He was quoted as saying: “This message needs to be taken to all Nigerians but we cannot use money from the treasury to share out to prospective voters.
“Nigerians want change and we alone can deliver that change. Our people can no longer be swayed by money politics.”
The President also used the occasion, which was a valedictory session for the Minister of State, Foreign Affairs, Hajiya Khadija Bukar Abba Ibrahim, to wish her success in her electoral contest.
The minister had signified her desire to leave the cabinet, in line with existing regulations, to run for a legislative seat in her native Yobe State.
Speaking on the television programme, the Senate accused the Federal Government of frightening financial institutions from funding campaigns.
According to him, most business communities are afraid to come to participate in election campaigns.
He debunked insinuation that the PDP had gone out of cash to fund its presidential election campaigns.
Rather, he described the Muhammadu Buhari-led government as “grossly intolerance.”
His words: “The atmosphere does not allow what people are used to. Activities are not as bubbling as we usually witnessed in the past. The funding environment has changed.
“The government is hounding financial institutions funding campaigns. Business communities that are donating to campaigns are being scared away. The environment we are seeing is not like an environment practising democracy. The government is scaring a lot of people away.”
According to him, the Atiku Abubakar Campaign Organisation is devising many tactics of passing the messages to the people.
The opposition party, he claimed, was competing with the ruling APC and security agencies.
“We can’t allow a situation whereby security personnel will prevent people from voting,” he said.
Saraki insisted that Nigerians are not better off under the present administration compare to the PDP era before 2015.
“This campaign should not be on sentiment. The APC-led government has failed. About 20 million jobs have been lost under this administration. Over 80 million Nigerians are living under poverty line.
“There is no way out because this government has shown no direction. If you cannot create more jobs, don’t let people lose their jobs,” he said.
He described government’s admission of 50 million litres as daily oil consumption as a big fraud, saying “there is no way we can consume such amount of fuel. This is a new corruption. It is a huge leakage. If we disagreed with Goodluck Jonathan administration’s 20.3 million daily consumption of fuel, this is another bigger corruption under this government. Things are even gone worse.”
According to him, revenue collections showed that there were lots of leakages in the government.
Packaged by Ojo Peter with additional reports from punchng.com