An aspirant to the House of Representatives, Ogaga Ifowodo, has appealed to some Nigerians to raise N57.4 million for him to fund his electioneering campaign.
In a letter to 350 “fellow citizens, friends and comrades,”, obtained by PREMIUM TIMES, Mr. Ifowodo, whose crowd-sourcing campaign method is a clear departure from what is familiar in Nigeria, said he would, however, urgently need N7 million to kick-start his campaign.
The aspirant, a doctorate degree holder who teaches poetry and literature at Texas State University, San-Marcos in the United States, aspires to represent Isoko Federal Constituency of Delta State on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
The constituency is currently represented by Leo Ogor of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, who is also deputy majority leader of the House. Mr Ogor is also seeking to return to the lower legislative chamber for the fourth term.
Mr. Ifowodo broke down the estimates of the proposed expenditure for the campaign as follows: bill boards N3.6million; ward visit and appointment of ward coordinators and campaign committees N2.4million; four campaign vehicles N6million; lease for five months of a campaign office N750, 000; expression of Interest and nomination forms N2.2million; full page advertorial in three national dailies N1.8million; and adverts on four television stations N6million.
Others are campaign website N.5million; two social network coordinators N750, 000; campaign advertorial paraphernalia N1.5million; salaries for five months for campaign manager N2.95million; community relations N20million; private security during campaign trips N3.5million; and logistics N2.5million.
The former students’ union leader and law graduate of the University of Benin, who provided the account number into which those who want to assist him would pay, said he would “greatly appreciate your support in cash or kind way of provision of any of the needed materials or services described.”
He stated: “The attached letter explains the circumstances and rationale for my soliciting your help as well as the urgency of my situation.
“It includes bank details at the end. It is my hope that you would gladly help in electing me as a member of our legislature. At the risk of repetition, I promise if you do, I will not let you, the people of Nigeria or myself down.”
Mr. Ifowodo said he was asking for a minimum of N10, 000 for the immediate purpose, but that he would greatly appreciate more substantial contributions towards the entire campaign and the ultimate goal of his election.
He listed a seven-point agenda which he would execute if elected to include: diligent execution of meaningful constituency projects; visionary legislation in defence of the rule of law and social justice; real war against corruption; religious harmony, peace and security; education, youth empowerment and unemployment; human rights, electoral and general law reform; and accountability.
He said though Mr. Ogor would out-spend him by a wide margin during the campaign, he believed that his pro-people message of service and integrity would more than make up for the gap.
He wrote: “I need your help to take my message to the people and help infuse hope in an exploited, alienated and cynical electorate. For one other reason I am running for office is to offer myself as a guinea pig—to find out if the magic spell that turns many otherwise decent persons into lobotomised and thieving kleptomaniacs upon assuming high political office will work its sorcery on me. You can help me solve this riddle of our public life!
He explained further: “I do not seek office as a means of corrupt self-enrichment nor to earn the vain title of “Honourable.” The public good and not the insatiable greed of a select few with access to the corridors of power, has always been and will forever remain my motivation.
“The Isoko people, who will be my local constituents, have a proverb which goes thus: Ẹzozo re gbile k’omobọ yẹ; kẹvẹ o re ruẹ a tẹ tehe abọ kẹ? Loosely translated, it says, the leech dances joyfully when no one is watching; what might it do if we clapped to applaud?”
He noted that though a federal legislator was neither the president nor a governor with a budget and executive powers, he believed the sort of change the people would need “is so thorough that it must be fought for at the small and big posts of our collective endeavour.”
Stating that he was sure that his friend would wish to be involved in the process of bringing positive change to the nation, Mr. Ifowodo said Nigeria needed all good hands on the political deck for an urgent salvage mission.
He lamented that Nigeria was fast becoming a failed state.
“However much pride might impel us to deny this sad truth; perhaps even hurtling into disintegration, a fate that has haunted us since a mere six years after independence,” he said.