Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, yesterday said the federal government has shut down the official website of the All Progressives Congress (APC), just as he unveiled the fund-raising strategy for the presidential campaign of the party.
The governor, who is the Chairman of the Buhari-Osinbajo Campaign Fund, also debunked allegations that allocations of 20 local government areas and 37 local council development areas had been diverted to fund the party’s campaign.
He lamented the intolerant disposition of the Goodluck Jonathan administration at a news conference he addressed at Lagos House, Marina, alongside other members of the campaign fund including former Lagos State Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Wale Edun, and Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Mr. Ben Akabueze.
At the conference, the governor unveiled the diverse platforms the committee had devised to raise funds to finance the presidential campaign of General Muhammadu Buhari and his running mate, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.
He named different organisations the party had partnered to include First Bank Plc, GTBank Plc, Zenith Bank Plc, Access Bank Plc and Ecobank Plc in which he said the Buhari-Osinbajo Campaign Fund accounts are domiciled.
This platform, according to the governor, would allow donors to make payments to the campaign fund account codenamed: APCGMBPYO, using customised tellers at any branch of the five designated banks.
He also unveiled the e-transaction platform, through which the party’s supporters can make donations online, noting that donations can be made by logging on to www.apcgmbpyo.org, and debit cards like MasterCard, Visa and Verve “are accepted to make contributions to the fund online”.
He advised prospective donors to follow the instructions on the site.
He added that the committee has also partnered MTN, Glo, Etisalat, Airtel and Visafone, through which the party supporters could make as low as N100 donation to support the Buhari-Osinbajo presidential project by downloading ring tones, sending premium test messages to designated numbers or purchasing a recharge card.
To use this platform, Fashola said donors are expected to send APC to the short code: “35350” on all networks to make donations.
Another platform, he explained, is the scratch card approach, saying: “A donor can purchase a ‘one card’ scratch card from any of recharge card vendors and dial *979*22*PIN Number # and press send to donate.
“Cards are available in denominations of N100, N200, N500, N750 and N1,000. There are over 40,000 accredited vendors of the cards. The cards are already in use.”
Fashola added that all the businesses that the APC Presidential Campaign Fund had partnered have no partisan affiliation with the opposition party.
“This partnership is for commercial purpose. They are simply putting forward their platforms and providing professional services. It is important to point this out before the ruling party begins to threaten their businesses,” he said.
He lamented the intolerant disposition of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the opposition, noting that his party’s internet domain name, www.apc.com.ng, which promotes Nigeria, “has been shut down by the Nigerian Government because they do not want us to use the internet to communicate.
“Regrettably, but necessarily, we were compelled to register a new name which they will have little control over. That is www.apcgmbpyo.org. It will be the internet platform for this fund raising and other activities.
“We intend to show Nigeria is a civilized country and change is upon us. The names of the donors will not be published but they will be acknowledging to us by their names and telephone number so that we can thank them by texts or letters.”
The governor debunked allegations that the local government and local council development areas in the state are funding the party’s presidential campaign, asking the ruling party “to publish the evidence. However, we will not be disturbed by allegations that were not based on facts”.
He acknowledged the provisions in the Electoral Act regulating the management of campaign funds, stating: “There is a regulatory provision in the Electoral Act on how to manage campaign funds. We have to comply with those regulations.”
He observed that one of the things said by Buhari when his campaign started was that he desired to have a campaign that would involve ordinary people.
“He is committed to transparent and accountable fund raising and management. This has been the key to designing this strategy.
“This campaign fund raising will be different from the ones that we are already accustomed to. This is part of the change that our party wishes to bring onboard. So this fund raising has been designed to give everyone the opportunity to participate in effecting that change.
“We have seen the enthusiasm of young people to participate in this election especially those who will be voting for the first time. Regrettably, a number of them have either been denied the opportunity to register or where they have registered, they are yet to receive their permanent voters’ cards (PVCs).
“We also note the concern of Nigerians living abroad many of whom were forced to move abroad because of lack of electricity, insecurity and bad governance.
“We note their enthusiasm to participate even though their government is not effective enough to allow them vote from abroad using available technology,” he explained.