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Campaign funding: Tinubu withdrew 500m naira in a single day

President Muhammadu Buhari said in an interview with newspaper editors broadcast yesterday that he was willing to be probed over the money that funded his 2015 presidential campaign. “I don’t know whether I have some official protection. If I don’t have it, why haven’t you started the investigation? I see, very good. But then, it doesn’t extend to all the executives and party leaders and the party leaders are there.

“If anybody has received $100m to give to the party, I think he should be asked to tell us where he got the $100m. I know those we would eventually successfully prosecute, they wouldn’t leave it, neither will they let their friends leave it. We do not believe if we were so reckless we would get away with it. I don’t believe it”.

The president is playing the ostrich here. He knows where the money for his campaign came from, he knows it was stolen from the public purses of states such as Lagos and Rivers, and he was never willing to ask any questions about the sources.

On Thursday 26 March 2015, two days before voting day, a branch manager of a “new generation” bank in Lagos informed a customer that there was no money available for him to withdraw because Bola Tinubu, the former Lagos State governor, had just withdrawn 500m naira (about $2.5m) in cash.

The manager told the customer that then president Goodluck Jonathan was “throwing money at voters and Tinubu had to counter PDP” (Jonathan’s Peoples Democratic Party).

While Tinubu made a significant financial contribution to the Buhari campaign, the bulk of the funds are alleged to have come from the Rivers State treasury, courtesy of then governor Rotimi Amaechi. Samuel Ortom, the Benue State governor later alleged that 80% of Buhari’s campaign money came from Amaechi. The UK’s Daily Mail put this figure at £140m.

It is no surprise that, despite a handful of petitions, neither Tinubu nor Amaechi have been bothered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Buhari knows better than to bite the hands that fed him.

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