Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja
Unlike in 2015 when he said he took a bank loan to purchase the expression of interest and nomination forms of the All Progressives Congress, President Muhammadu Buhari may not spend his personal money or obtain loan for that purpose for the 2019 presidential election.
A top Presidency official told Saturday PUNCHon Thursday that a number of groups had expressed their desire to buy the forms for Buhari.
He said those who offered to buy the forms for the President were doing so to express their belief in the ability of Buhari’s administration to completely reposition the country.
As of the last count, according to him, groups that have offered to buy the forms for Buhari include the United Kingdom, Kano and Adamawa State chapters of the APC, the Daura Emirate Youth Progressive Movement, and the Bauchi State Food Vendors Multi-Purpose Cooperative Union.
He said the Enugu State Chapter of the APC had also promised to print all posters that the President would use for the campaign.
“The need for the President to take another loan for the purpose of purchasing those forms may not be necessary this time with the goodwill that has been extended towards him in that regard.
“You are aware that even before he formally expressed his desire to seek re-election, different groups had offered to pick the bill once he decided to run for second term,” the source said.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in an interview with our correspondent confirmed that he was aware that some groups offered to buy the forms for the President.
Shehu however said since the forms were not yet on sale, it would be too early to say who would be paying for them.
He said, “Yes, a number of groups have promised to purchase the forms for the President as their own way of appreciating the good leadership President Buhari is offering the country.
“But we all know that even the forms are not yet on sale as we speak. The party has not started the process.
“It is when the process starts that we can be talking of who is paying and who is not paying. When we get to that bridge, we will cross it.”
The presidential spokesman however said he had no information on whether Buhari had repaid the bank loan he obtained ahead of the 2015 elections and how he intended to fund his campaign for the next election.
Buhari had in 2014 at the national secretariat of the APC while picking the expression of interest and nomination forms to run for Presidency the fourth time, said the N27.5m, which was the cost of the forms, was exorbitant but that he was helpless in getting it reduced.
“It’s a pity I couldn’t influence this amount to be put down as in the case of ladies and the physically challenged persons that intend to participate. I always look left and right in our meetings but I could not read sympathy, so I kept my trap (shut).
“But I felt heavily sorry for myself because I don’t want to go and ask somebody to pay for my nomination forms, because I always try to pay myself, at least for the nomination.
“N27m is a big sum, thankfully I have personal relationship with the manager of my bank in Kaduna and I told him that very soon the forms are coming, so, whether I am on red, or green or even black, please honour it, otherwise I may lose the nomination.
“I was about to go to Kaduna this morning and I told the Chairman but he said in that case, you better pick your form and keep a straight face; that means there is no excuse,” Buhari had said.
Shortly thereafter, the then Head of Media, Publicity and ICT of Buhari Support Organisation, Dr. Chidi Maduekwe, had told journalists that the bank loan would be repaid by the Buhari Crowd Funding Platform.
“As of today, we have a platform called Buhari Crowd Funding Platform. That in itself is an innovation.
“Every second, every hour, N200, N1,000 is being paid into that account by concerned Nigerians. So, that could serve as a pool to even pay for the loan that was raised to start with.
“So having borrowed money to buy his ticket, we have set up a platform that would fund the repayment of that money and fund his campaign and indeed be a litmus test as to how popular (he is) and if he is really the people’s President in waiting,” Maduekwe had said.
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