Jonathan using SURE-P funds for 2015 campaign, ACN insists

The action of the Nigerian President resident is a very serious violation of the constitution, the ACN says.

The Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN has said that the crisis tearing the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Lagos apart over the sharing of SURE-P funds in the state has vindicated its stand that the funds, meant to cushion the effects of petrol subsidy removal, have now become a 2015 campaign war chest for President Jonathan.

In a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the party said when it alerted the nation to the abuse of the SURE-P funds in a statement on February 3, the Nigerian Government as well as SURE-P managers rushed to deny any abuse of the funds and called the party unprintable names.

“Today, the truth has prevailed as the PDP members themselves have confirmed that the SURE-P funds are being shared among them across the federation.

”Thanks to the alleged hijacking of the SURE-P funds meant for the PDP members in Lagos State by the Bode George faction and the crisis that it has generated, the nation can now see that the Jonathan administration has willfully converted the money accruing from SURE-P to campaign funds,” Mr. Mohammed said.

The ACN spokesperson said the action of the president ”is a very serious violation of the constitution, because the State Implementation Committee, SIC, a body not recognized by law, has been set up to distribute the SURE-P largesse to PDP members in all the states”.

According to Mr. Mohammed, money being spent on fuel subsidies was in the past taken out of the Federation Account, hence its is money that would have been divided among the three tiers of government in accordance with the revenue allocation formula.

”But by virtue of the SURE-P arrangement, part of the funds are now available for the FG to share freely by approving contracts, programmes and activities in accordance with its whims and caprices,” he said, adding that the PDP-controlled FG has now seen the accruing huge funds as money which may well be spent with special favour for its cronies and party affiliates, without regard to the constitution.

“For President Jonathan, this is an impeachable offence,” ACN said.

The party said in order to buttress its point on the abuse of the SURE-P funds, most – if not all – state coordinators for President Jonathan’s campaign in 2011 are also the current state coordinators for SURE-P, adding that this is not a mere coincidence but a well-orchestrated attempt to give the Jonathan campaign an unfair head-start ahead of 2015 – with public funds.

It listed some of the coordinators as Bode Oyedele (Lagos); Joseph Ishekpa (Nasarawa); Garba A. Kurfi (Katsina): Aliyu Mamman (Niger); Adamu Yaro Gombe (Gombe); Femi Akinyemi (Ekiti); Jarigbe Agbom Jarigbe (Cross River); Abdullahi Ohioma (Kogi); Dare Adeleke (Oyo); Al-Kasim Madoka (Kano) and Kolo Bukar (Borno).

On the crisis in Lagos PDP over the SURE-P largesse, ACN said a public statement by a faction of the PDP in Lagos has let the cat out of the bag.

The PDP factional statement said, inter alia; ”Bode Oyedele cannot coordinate Sure-P in Lagos State. We reject him. He has packed all Bode George’s agents as Sure-P beneficiaries. Is this the objective of Sure-P? Some local governments like Eti-Osa, Ajeromi, Lagos Islands etc. Please, find out how they got the beneficiaries.

”In Eti-Osa there are names of criminals as beneficiaries, especially Ward HI. This is a waste of subsidy money and defeating the objective of the programme. There are responsible eminent citizens who should be contacted to verify and screen the submission of names for beneficiaries but Bode George’s loyalists are putting names of touts and miscreants for his own personal agenda. We won’t allow this to happen. We intend to go to court to obtain an order to dissolve the state exco if the Caretaker Committee won’t do it,” the statement by a faction of the Lagos PDP noted.

The ACN said that the statement by the Lagos PDP faction should leave no one should in any doubt that the SURE-P funds have now become campaign funds for President Jonathan and his party ahead of 2015.

”On the basis of this, we are now calling for an independent investigation into how the money accruing to SURE-P has been disbursed since the inception of the programme, with a view to establishing to what extent the funds have been abused, and in order to prescribe the appropriate sanctions for those found culpable,” it said.

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