Amid the mixed reactions that have greeted reports that Nigerians in the diaspora are making attempts to raise a whopping sum of $150 million (one hundred and fifty million US Dollars) for the campaign of the Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate, Peter Obi, a former staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mr. Oluwole Osaze Uzzi has come out to clear the air on the legality of such a move.
Speaking during an interview on ARISE NEWS some hours ago, Mr. Uzzi, who was once INEC’s Director of Legal Services and Voter Education, stated that though there are sections of the law that prohibits political parties from keeping campaign funds received from foreign countries, there is, however, nothing in the constitution that prevents a political aspirant from receiving donations from Nigerians in the diaspora.
Going further, the former INEC chief also pointed out that though there is no limit to the amount Obi can receive into his coffers from citizens abroad, the law, however, clearly states that there is a limit to what he can spend and records of such expenditures must be submitted to the electoral body (INEC) for proper scrutiny.
“A distinction has been to be drawn between Peter Obi the candidate, and his sponsoring political platform, the Labour Party. The promulgation of section 225 of the constitution of the Federal Republic states that all funds received by a political party must be handed over to INEC. It specifically forbids political parties from receiving funds from abroad and that is the most international best practice, even in the US.
“But, curiously, it does not forbid a candidate or an aspirant from receiving or bringing in any money from abroad. So if Peter Obi or any candidate for that matter is receiving monies from abroad, technically speaking, the law does not forbid it.
“Remember that the constitution itself says that for you to punish anybody for contravening the law, there must be a written law published and gazetted by the state. Now, there is no law forbidding individuals from receiving money from abroad,” he said.