By Brown Justice
As the race to 2019 general elections hits up, political actors are resulting to last minute moves to raise funds to support their various campaign projects.
The Presidential and National Assembly elections are slated for February 16 while the governorship and states assembly elections are to hold on March 2.
President Muhammadu Buhari has remained adamant to various overtures by party leaders to use government resources to fund his re-election campaign and that of other candidates of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Realisation of this fact is however pitching party members against one another thereby creating discontentment within the party hierarchy especially among the APC governorship candidates in states governed by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
It was reliably gathered that APC governors are going to contribute money for President Buhari’s re-election campaign while other candidates especially the governorship candidates of the party are to source for campaign funds through their own means.
This development it was learnt has left many governorship candidates of the party stranded. Despite INEC lifting the ban on political activities, some APC campaign offices at state levels are still inactive with docility as there is no money to fund their political activities.
The situation is so tense in Enugu that the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Senator Ayogu Eze have to agree to mortgage Enugu State to APC National Leader, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu in exchange for election campaign funds.
According to sources familiar with the deal, Tinubu did not reject Eze’s request to fund his election but told him the terms and asked if he could keep them to earn his support?
The source however said, he was suprised that Senator Eze could agree to all the terms without opting to negotiate any of them with Asiwaju.
He said “When candidates come here to ask for election money, Asiwaju normally tell them the condition before accepting to fund their election but sometimes candidates are also given the option to object any terms not favourable to them as was the fact in the case of the former governor of Kogi State, Prince Abubakar Audu who requested for money to fund his election in 2015.” The source said the former governor bargained with the national leader and at the end, Mr. James Faleke was given to him as running mate before he died in the cause of the election. But this time, it is a different kettle of fish in the case of that man from Enugu, he never objected any of the terms even when Asiwaju expected him to do so.”
Asked to comment on some of the terms, the source said Senator Ayogu Eze will have to increase tax in Enugu if he wins and that Tinubu’s tax collecting company, Alpha Beta Company Limited will be the sole tax collecting firm in the state and that 40 percent of the total revenue collected which will be known as Internally Generated Revenue will go to Tinubu while the state retains the remaining 60 percent.
Another condition according to the source is that, Mr. Eze will have to give all the construction works in the state to construction companies owned by Tinubu as it’s been done in the Southwest states where Tinubu-installed governors are calling the short.
The term also include that Mr. Eze will have to use the state resources to support Tinubu’s 2023 Presidential ambition under APC platform and that he will also help him to mobilize Southeast leaders against Rochas Okorocha who has also declared interest to run for president in 2023.
The agreement it was learnt is different from the initial Irrevocable Standing Payment Order (ISPO) earlier signed with Tinubu and other leaders of the party before the ticket of APC was given to him upon defection from the PDP as against the interest of the long standing members of the party in the state who had worked very hard to introduce the party to electorates in the state.
According to an informed source, part of the (ISPO) agreement is that 35 percent of the Federal Allocation to Enugu State will be paid to Tinubu and other party leaders in Abuja for three years.
Where the money is not available, Mr. Eze will have to take loans from banks using the state as collateral security to fulfill this obligation.
It was later learnt that Mr. Eze signed the agreement to surrender the state’s treasury to Tinubu on December 23rd, 2018 when he went to Lagos under the guise of meeting with Enugu State indigenes in the state.
Several efforts to get confirmation from the national secretariat of the APC about the secret deal proved abortive as several calls and texts messages sent to the phone number of the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Yekini Nabena did not get reply before press time.
However, the question on the lips of many stakeholders who are aware of the deal is whether the state will survive such capital flight because Enugu State is just number three on the list of states in Nigeria with megre federal allocations from Abuja.
Since 1999, Enugu has never had a political godfather outside the state, but whether this new political experiment with the imperial majesty of Lagos State will stand depends on who the electorates choose to vote for on March 2nd.
Mr. Brown Justice, an Investigative Journalist files this report from Lagos.
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