President Muhammadu Buhari has been releasing funds to Governors of states controlled by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) close to isolated governorship elections, raising suspicion whether the president is providing financial reinforcement to the APC governors.
Few weeks to the governorship election in Osun State in 2018, the President approved the disbursement of N16.67 billion to the state. The presidency explained that it was part of the refund for over-deductions from the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) for debt servicing between 1995 and 2002.
About one week to the governorship election in Kogi State in 2019, President Buhari wrote to the Senate, requesting approval for disbursement of N10.069 billion ‘promissory note’ to Kogi State. This was said to be refunds for federal projects done by the state government.
In Edo State, no fund was disbursed to the government during the 2020 governorship election as in 2016. However, about four days to the September 19 election in Edo State, the president approved the disbursement of funds in the form of micro credit facilities to 2,000 women and youth under Micro Enterprise Enhancement Scheme. In the last Edo election, the incumbent governor was a member of the PDP, and the state government was not involved in the disbursement.
Moreover, President Buhari did not approve the release of funds to the Ondo State government during the governorship election in 2016 when the governor was a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). However, few days to the governorship election in Ondo State in 2020, President Buhari last Tuesday requested the approval of N148 billion by the National Assembly for refunds to Ondo, Bayelsa, Cross River, Osun and Rivers States as expenses on federal road projects in the states. The president’s letter to the National Assembly indicated that Ondo State, where APC is sponsoring an incumbent governorship for re-election on October 10, will receive N7 billion.
Records show that the federal government did not release funds Bayelsa and Anambra states during the governorship election in 2019 and 2017, respectively. Governors of both states are members of opposition parties.
The phenomenon has been generating suspicions over the motive of the president during the different elections.