N242.4bn election fund: Buhari plans to frustrate 2019 polls as sure defeat looms, says PDP

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of seeking what it described as surreptitious ploys to frustrate the conduct of the 2019 general elections.

Buhari, in a letter he wrote to the National Assembly on Tuesday, requested a total virement of N228.8bn, largely allocated to new projects “inserted” in the 2018 budget by the National Assembly to offset part of the proposed cost of funding the 2019 general elections.

Election funding is to gulp N242.4bn. The total cost for the inserted projects in the 2018 budget is N578.3bn.

However, the President wants the N228.8bn vired from the money, an indication that many of the projects would suffer the fate of lack of funding and execution.

Condemning Buhari, Nigeria’s main opposition party, the PDP, alleged that the President was frustrating the 2019 elections because he had allegedly been told that he would lose his re-election bid.

The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement in Abuja on Wednesday, asked Nigerians and the international community to note that “this request is a deliberate plot to inject disagreements in the polity, cause confusion in the electoral system and set the stage for a political crisis capable of frustrating the conduct of the elections.”

Ologbondiyan added that Buhari ought to know that the request was against the Constitution.

He said, “Mr President is aware that his request is in no way in consonant with constitutional provisions and extant rules guiding legislative virement of funds already meant for constituency development projects, yet he sent same to the National Assembly.

“If Mr President meant well for the nation and had no ulterior motives, he should have sent a fresh supplementary budget to the National Assembly for whatever amount he seeks for INEC, instead of seeking for a controversial virement.”

He, therefore, asked the President to follow the rules and immediately submit a fresh supplementary budget or seek other legitimate ways and means, which he said must be devoid of bottlenecks, to finance the election.

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