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Politics of Monday, 5 September 2022

Source: www.mynigeria.com

Disapora donations to Peter Obi is lawful - Lawyer

Peter Obi Peter Obi

Festus Ogun, a human rights lawyer and the founder of Festus Ogun Legal, has underlined that contributions made by Nigerians living abroad to Peter Obi's campaign for president do not break any laws of Nigeria.

This was in response to calls from some organisations for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ban Obi from the 2023 presidential campaign due to allegations that he had violated the Electoral Act by allegedly soliciting cash from foreign sources.

However, Ogun claimed in a statement made available on Monday that contributions made by supporters for any candidate's campaign did not contravene Nigerian electoral rules or any other laws.

The statement titled, ‘Diaspora Donation to Peter Obi Campaign Violates No Law In Nigeria (1)’ read, “Following the pledge of a Diaspora Support Group to crowdfund $150m for Peter Obi’s campaign, concerns are raised in some quarters over the legality and constitutionality of diaspora donations made in respect of Mr. Peter Obi’s Campaign.

“In fact, some groups reportedly called on the Independent National Electoral Commission to ‘without delay’, disqualify Mr. Peter Obi, the Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party, from the 2023 Presidential race.

“To be clear, donations made by concerned citizens and support groups (either in Nigeria or in the diaspora) to Peter Obi and his Campaign Team are not in violation of any living law in Nigeria.

“Those who hold otherwise rely largely on Section 225(3)(a)(b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as altered) and Section 85 of the Electoral Act, 2022. With greatest respect, these provisions of law are generally inapplicable to this instant case, and those who rely on them to demand from INEC the disqualification of Mr. Peter Obi, which is itself laughable, are either mischievous or misconceived.

“Section 225(3)(a)(b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as altered) provides that: ‘No political party shall hold or possess any funds or other assets outside Nigeria; or b. be entitled to retain any funds or assets remitted or sent to it from outside Nigeria’.”

“A careful consideration of the sections of law reproduced above shows that the 1999 Constitution simply prohibits a POLITICAL PARTY from holding or possessing any funds or other assets outside Nigeria and from retaining any funds or assets remitted or sent to it from outside Nigeria. The Electoral Act, by virtue of Section 85, only complements the constitutional provision by prescribing punishment for its breach.” Ogun further explained.

He added, “Having cleared that, it is safe to say that donations made to Mr. Peter Obi or his Campaign Organization in furtherance of his Presidential Campaign cannot be said to be made to a Political Party as envisaged under 225(3)(a)(b) of the 1999 Constitution. Neither Mr. Peter Obi nor his campaign Organisation is a ‘political party’ and must not be mistaken or confused for Labour Party, a duly registered political party under the law. It would have been a different ball game entirely if the donations were made to Labour Party as a political party.

“Donations made to political candidates or their campaign teams are not caught under 225(3)(a)(b) of the 1999 Constitution and Section 85 of the Electoral Act and are therefore not illegal and unconstitutional.”


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