Friday, February 10, 2006

[When] Political Parties Abet Corruption

Ahamefula Ogbu of Nigerian ThisDay writes:
“Governor Joshua Dariye of Plateau State opened a can of worms, revealing how a N1.6 billion Ecological Fund meant for the state was, on the directive of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), spent on the 2003 campaign of President Olusegun Obasanjo…
Giving the breakdown, the governor said the beneficiaries of the fund included the Deputy Senate President, Alhaji Ibrahim Mantu, who, he alleged, got N10 million; the PDP South-west (N100million); PDP South (N100 million) and Plateau State (N800 million).”
Does this allegation hold water? Should it be regarded as the last futile attempt from a drowning man?

This allegation merits further investigation because the use of state funds to bankroll elections and political campaigns is not a new phenomenon in Nigeria. In fact, monies spent in this manner account for a substantial proportion of “diverted state money”- money that should have been used to improve the lot of Nigerians.
All state and local governments in Nigerian have a pool of funds tagged “Security Fund”; have you ever wondered how these monies are spent, especially during an election year? Have you ever wondered what the term: “Power of Incumbency” really means? If you assume is it means the ability of the incumbent to spend state money on political endeavors you are not wrong.
If the investigation is done thoroughly, which is very unlikely, it will be impossible for the political heavyweights at all arms of government in Nigeria to escape indictment. And that means a multitude of politicians from Aso rock big-wigs to the barons at local governments!

Dariye did jump bail and “ran home” after being arrested for money laundering by the UK police in 2004. Since then he’s been engaged in a series of battle with the Nigerian anti-fraud unit- the EFCC. This allegation is the latest in the series of drama and innuendos that have characterized the case.

Unlike many western nations, there are no laws guiding political campaign/election financing in Nigeria, and if there are such laws, they've never been enforced.