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That's a booby trap - President Jonathann

15 April 2014, 12:25 Peregrino Brimah

The Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonthan in Abuja Monday, rejected recommendations for the regulation of campaign expenses, submitted to him by the former Senate President Ken Nnamani headed National Stakeholders’ Forum on Electoral Reform. Goodluck challenged Nigerians to advocate a "realistic and practicable" law that would not be “a booby trap” for anyone. This according to a report today in DailyTrust.

Section 91 of the Electoral Act 2010 stipulates that: "The maximum election expenses to be incurred by a candidate at a presidential election shall be N1 billion; governorship (N200million); Senate (N40million) and House of Representatives (N20million)."

The Political Party Monitoring and Liaison (PPML) department of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is setup to allegedly monitor campaign expenses, but INEC dismisses this function under the guise of the task being "impossible," alleging that "most monetary exchanges occur at night.”

The president, yesterday turned down strict monitoring with the explanation that the committee should reject "booby traps." Booby traps for who? For the politician or for the Nigerian masses? Booby traps for him or for the opposition? Did the president consider the desperate desire of the 168 million Nigerians for politician regulation and limitation, booby trapping as he calls it, necessary to sanitize the political climate and control deadly violence and terror and terrorist group creation?

Among the most clamored for electoral reforms is the limitation and strict regulation of campaign expenses. Nigerians are desperate for this change, but the president does not seem to share the needs and aspirations of the nation’s people.

The President said: "If you say a governor must not spend beyond certain amount of money when campaigning, how do you monitor? And sometimes, the figures you put are too unrealistic because if you must campaign, the media is very expensive."

He pretty much implied that there need not be regulation, and not that it was hard to regulate. The president was pushing for unlimited spending—of billions of dollars, for instance—explaining that the media is expensive.

But, strict regulations would affect all candidates, would it not? All candidates will be forced to cap the money they throw at the media and they channel to militia, bandits, youth terrorist recruits and community ‘leaders,’ that wrecks the fiber of the Nigerian society. Why should the nation’s leader reject such desperately essential transformation that all parties will be bound by and that Nigerians demand?

In regards to monitoring ‘night’ spending. The cash-less transaction system was set-up for this purpose, was it not? Or it is a system that has only been successful in further taxing and burdening the masses and not the political elite? If really and truly, their money too is forced into the financial system, their channeling of this money in political campaign processes will be supervised by the Central Bank under… oh, Gosh, Godwin Emefiele, in any case, the Central bank would monitor Jonathan’s spending as it will monitor the opposition parties’ youth, I hope, candidates’ spending. This will be realistic, practicable and a booby trap only for the unworthy candidates who have to buy their way through filthy and immoral citizens, with stolen billions; a booby trap for the candidates who are the sponsors of community breakdown and terror. Why the trepidation?

Is Nigeria the president’s personal business? Why does the government of the country not seek and do the requests and wishes of the people in this ‘democracy?’ The people want strict campaign funding capping and regulation with all offices from the EFCC, through the ICPC, the police and the CBN involved. The people want a booby trap for the political cabal. Monitoring election funding will limit the destruction of the moral fiber of the society and curb terror. The people want this. Will the civilian regime work for the people or for themselves?

Finally, in the DailyTrust story on the problems of limiting campaign spending, the president gave a not surprising reaction. He said: “Each time one travels abroad, people ask all kinds of questions that even get one angry.”

One must say, you gotta ‘love’ Jonathan…  a straight shooter, very akin to president George Bush Jnr, known for speaking from his gut, no fear, no care. No finesse, no harness.

The president is angered by Nigerians abroad, who are for one, able to escape the slave-camp they set Nigeria to be and go abroad, and have seen how it is possible and actually so easy and proper and better for things to work and work in the advantage of the people, poor included; and who are not intimidated by ‘elected’ office holders, and challenge the president to his duty to the people and not to the pocket.

We implore the president consider the report of the people, submitted to him in the best interest of Nigeria.

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