The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Campaign Organization (PPCO) alleged yesterday that the Presidency and the All Progressives Congress (APC) secretly drew over N478 million from the coffers of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to ‘rent a crowd and offset bills’ in respect of the President Muhammadu Buhari re-election campaign rally flagged off on Friday in Uyo, Akwa-Ibom State.
The PPCO also accused President Buhari of directly appointing serving ministers and heads of government agencies as members of his campaign council for the purpose of continuing to use them as conduit pipes for the diversion of public funds to finance his 2019 campaign.
Spokesman for the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, said the opposition party was also aware of the protests by some eminent Nigerians, including foremost businessmen, who were named as members of the APC Campaign Council without their consent.
The action, PDP said, was a desperate bid to showcase the false impression that the businessmen were supporting Mr. President’s re-election bid.
His words: “The N478 million NDDC fund which was originally budgeted for development projects in the Niger Delta was diverted to renting and transportation of crowd from other parts of the country to the rally to create an impression of popularity for President Buhari in the region.
“Further information at our party’s disposal, shows that the said N478 million is part of the wholesome sum of N1.2 billion allegedly siphoned in tranches from the NDDC treasury by the cabal at the Buhari Presidency and APC leaders, who have been stealing money from various government agencies to finance President Buhari’s campaign.
“Our party also has it on good authority that this ignoble scheme of siphoning NDDC development fund to finance his campaign was the main reason President Buhari foisted an unpopular leadership at the management of the NDDC despite the protests by critical stakeholders in all the states of the Niger Delta.
“Furthermore, the PPCO is aware of the dissention by some APC leaders over President Buhari’s unilateral listing of individuals into his campaign council as announced by his media aide, without recourse to the selection process of the APC leadership.”