By G9ija

So what’s currently trending in the political sphere is the diasporan funding for Peter Obi and it being against the electoral act (section 85, subsection a and b).

Prior to now, it has never been an issue as Nigerian politicians source their funds majorly from other means. Some through illegal diversion of State funds while others through funding from the oligarchs and super wealthy who have vested interests in the government. The money politicians get from Nigerians in the diapora has been very meagre. Perhaps that explains why it never trended in the past. But with the emergence of Peter Obi, the story has changed as it would seem the Diasporans are ready to bankroll the Peter Obi campaign immensely.

Now the issue is that the electoral act is against funding political parties from abroad. So what that means is that the Labor Party are not meant to collect any money from anyone abroad. Any money collected will be forfeited and the party fined. Now what is the Labor Party’s plan in regards ensuring they don’t break this law.

I just watched the interview Prof Pat Utomi granted to Seun of Channels TV and I was surprised at Prof’s response to this law. He was literally calling that law bluff. Based on his response, it would seem the plan of the Labor Party is to go ahead and collect monies from abroad and use it to fund their campaigns. That is very dangerous.

I must state it here that I share Prof Utomi’s sentiment in regards to the funding as a way Nigerians can take back their country. I also agree that the law is a clog in the wheel of Nigerians in the diaspora who want to take back their country from the rich corrupt politicians. But I don’t think it’s wise to call the law bluff. This is because the law has constitutional backing. Section 225 (3) (a) and (b) of the constitution was very clear about funding from abroad. Going against the constitution is wrong as the courts will never support you.

So my advice to the Labor Party is that they assemble their legal team to study the law and seek for ways to raise funds without contravening the law. Perhaps one way, would be for an NGO or body that has no financial ties with the Labor Party be the one to champion the collection and disbursement of these Diasporan funds.

Now let’s even look at the law and the purpose/intent of it. I think the reason behind the law is noble… prevent foreign influence on our country. A sovereign country can only remain sovereign if they are not influenced by any foreign country. I 100% agree with that. But I think that law was coined wrongly. Nigerians in diapora are not “foreigners”. They are Nigerians. So even though they are abroad, they should be able to be contribute towards the growth of their country in every way possible. The law should be tweeked to prevent donations from foreigners/foreign countries and not prevent donations from Nigerian in diaspora.