Political economist and entrepreneur, Prof. Pat Utomi, has called for a check on the tax returns of individuals who made donations towards President Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election campaign during a fund-raiser in Abuja where N21.7bn was raised.
Utomi hinged his argument on the fact that it was possible that some of the donors’ tax returns might reveal that they do not own such amount of money.
“If their tax returns do not show that they have such money, they should immediately be prosecuted,” he said.
He agreed that it might be difficult for the Independent National Electoral Commission to enforce Section 91(2) of the Electoral Act which states that, “The maximum election expenses to be incurred by a candidate at a presidential election shall be N1bn.” Utomi said, “That does not mean that efforts should not be made. Where a public travesty has been made like this fundraising, people should be prosecuted.
“INEC should stop pussy-footing and pretending that it does not know what is going on. Election in Nigeria is purely cash-and-carry. They come to polling stations handing out money and buying everything possible to buy. Elections are for sale and INEC should not pretend it does not know that.
“Making examples of people who have made a public spectacle of themselves like in the PDP fundraising is critical for the future of Nigeria.”
Utomi even suggested that the international community should categorise some extreme levels of corruption as “economic genocide.”
He said the fact that most existing indices categorised Nigeria as “one of the most miserable places to live on earth” made the fundraising abhorrent.