The All Progressives Congress (APC) has devised a complex and a devious scheme to fund its presidential campaign for the 2019 election, SIGNAL has learned.
The scheme involves routing idle funds of the Agri-Business Small and Medium Enterprises Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS) with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) through the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) to APC party faithful and canvassers in the 774 Local Government of the country for the purpose of the presidential campaign.
The AGSMEIS is an initiative of the Bankers’ Committee which requires all Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) to set aside 5% of their annual profit after tax (PAT) for the purpose of complementing federal government’s effort at promoting agri-business. As at June 2018, the fund has increased to a whooping N60bn.
But the fund has largely remained idle at the CBN as would-be beneficiaries for a number of reasons have not been able to fully access it. So recently, the CBN went into partnership with the NIPOST, for the postal service to set up a national micro finance bank with the purported objective being that of enabling speedy disbursement of the AGSMEIS fund.
But our investigations show that this is in fact a ruse to cover up the funding source of the APC presidential campaign. A highly-placed APC source who is obviously disgruntled over the Party’s contentious primaries told our correspondent that the beneficiaries of the AGSMEIS fund through the NIPOST would be dedicated APC party leaders who would then be tasked with funding the party’s campaign in each of the 774 local government of the country. The NIPOST microfinance bank will conveniently begin operations in January 2019 when the presidential campaign is in earnest.
‘’The party chose that complex route because it is wary of going the PDP way in 2015, when the party through the National Security Adviser used funds meant for the purchase of arms and ammunitions to fund its presidential run,’’ the source said.
Reliable sources close to the APC note that the party’s leaders have complained bitterly of shortage of funds to prosecute the presidential run since campaigns were officially declared to begin by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). They say it was because of the reluctance of President Muhammadu Buhari to approve the use of government funds for the campaign.
The party appears to have gone round the challenge with the AGSMEIS fund trapped with the CBN. SIGNAL can however not confirm if the party sought and received the approval of the President for what is obviously an illegal use of government’s funds for campaign purposes.
Our source however insisted that some of the President’s top aides are in the know of the devious and illegal scheme. “How do you think the elections in Ekiti and Osun were funded?’’, he asked. “It was with the use of government funds, some were given by state governors, while we know how we got the rest from the federal government. The president can pretend not to know. That is his business,’’ he said.
Sambo Dasuki, the immediate past National Security Adviser (NSA) to former President Goodluck Jonathan is still in detention over the misappropriation of $1bn for arms and ammunitions which was misused for electoral campaign.
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