The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on Tuesday, November 13, 2018, said minister of information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, was diverting funds budgeted for the Ministry of Information to run campaigns for President Muhammadu Buhari ahead of the 2019 presidential election.
But in a swift reaction, the minister debunked the claims of the party, saying it was only jittery and raising false alarm having realized that it would be defeated again in the forthcoming elections.
Speaking with Daily Independent, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party’s national publicity secretary, said while many chieftains of the PDP were being prosecuted for allegedly using public funds to prosecute the 2015 general elections, the Buhari Campaign Organisation, BCO, was currently bidding for contracts in various ministries without following due process, claiming that it will use the proceeds of the contracts to work for Buhari’s re-election.
According to the PDP, the national leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, under Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, also gave approval to the BCO to go and look for such contracts.
Ologbondiyan said: “As a matter of fact, all the issues bordering on spending government funds for campaign purposes are all in court and awaiting judgment.
“But having said that, it is a known fact that the Buhari Campaign Organisation is bidding for contracts in various ministries and they even have the approval of their party hierarchy to go and look for such contracts.
“Even as we speak, the Federal Ministry of Information fund, monies budgeted for the ministry for national assignment, is being used to organise campaigns for President Muhammadu Buhari.
“But as the PDP will always say, there is nothing to APC as a party because it is manifest that they came into government without a plan and, as such, cannot implement anything.
However, the minister, in his response to PDP’s claim, said the opposition party, having realised the success the policies of the Buhari administration such as the School Feeding Programme has achieved, was beginning to panic and make unfounded claims that the funds earmarked for the Information Ministry were being diverted for election purposes.
According to the minister, the funds being used for the programmes were budgeted for and were being used judiciously to achieve the aims of the programme without undue interference from APC appointees.
Lai Mohammed said: “I usually don’t respond to the PDP because they really don’t have anything tangible to say. I think the PDP is just waking up to the realisation that they can’t win this election if the campaigns are based on issues.