Posted by News Express | 19 November 2022 | 424 times
A civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has issued a 24-hour ultimatum to Imo State governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma, to disclose the identities of purported 2,000 South East businessmen who donated N2 billion to support the 2023 campaigns of All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, for violating the 2022 Electoral Act.
The group said in a statement issued on Friday, November 18, 2022, that Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma, violated provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 with the announcement of a N1bn donation to support the 2023 campaigns of All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu.
The ultimatum is contained in a statement by the National Coordinator of HURIWA, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, who noted that because the announcement by Senator Uzodinma violated the Electoral Act, the Governor should divulge the donors and the exact amount they donated in line with the Freedom of Information Act of 2015.
Onwubiko said should the Governor fail to give details of the so-called 2,000 businessmen donors, it would be deemed that the money was drawn from the public till, warning that non-disclosure may trigger legal actions by groups campaigning for accountability, transparency and good governance.
The group alerted the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and anti-graft agencies to the contravention of the Electoral Act 2022 by Uzodimma and his so-called businessmen and charged INEC to serve them with the appropriate sanctions.
On Thursday, November 17, 2022, Uzodimma, at a Town Hall meeting between Tinubu and business leaders in the South-East zone, said 2,000 business owners across the zone have contributed N1 billion to support Tinubu’s presidential campaigns.
“However, this flagrantly violates Section 88 (8) of the Electoral Act which stipulates that no individual or group can donate more than N50 million to a candidate,” Onwubiko observed.
“Also, Section 88 (2) of the act states that the maximum election expenses to be incurred by a presidential candidate should not exceed N5 billion.”
The statement reads in part: “HURIWA calls on INEC which is empowered by the Electoral Act 2022 to demand information on the amount donated by Uzodimma and his faceless businessmen, as well as the source of the funds. Nigerians deserves to know this and the Governor should release the details in line with the Freedom of Information Act 2015.
“INEC must act on Section 88 (8) that Uzodimma has already violated. The electoral body should fine him five times the amount donated in excess of the limit as recommended by the Electoral Act 2022.
“Also, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission should work with INEC to probe Uzodimma for the identities of the phantom and non-existent businessmen tagged as donors.
“Who knows, perhaps, these are alleged proceeds of money stockpiled somewhere kept for years but brought out now that the Central Bank of Nigeria announced the redesign of three selected naira notes and if not, let the names of the donors be publicised and the law must take its full course.
“INEC and the anti-graft agencies must investigate the source of these illegal and ourageous fund to set an example to other parties mulling similar apparently dubious and unlawfully idea.”
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