Given the popular notion that lack of accountability is one of the chief ills of our politics, how amazing that an affirmative gesture a fortnight ago by the presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), Omoyele Sowore, went almost unnoticed.
Without any prompting, AAC released a statement of account of its campaign spanning a year. We are told the party was able to raise a total of N157 million through a GoFundMe vehicle opened with Zenith Bank.
It covered assorted costs ranging from travel, accommodation, renting town halls, refreshments, mobilizing attendees to “N740,000 spent on security and intelligence”.
With this, Sowore, publisher of Sahara Reporters (the hard-hitting citizen-journalism platform), has undoubtedly set a record in campaign financing in Nigeria and demonstrated responsibility and accountability rare among recipients of public donations towards a civic cause.
Well, it surely will be a tall order asking the older, more established parties to render similar account or open their books for public scrutiny. More like the futility of looking for a virgin in a maternity ward.
Interestingly, Sowore, a one-time student union president at University of Lagos, would seem the biggest revelation of the 2019 general polls, coming sixth ahead of a few big names in the contest involving 73 candidates.
It is quite instructive that AAC’s GoFundMe account swelled from the widow’s mite sent by tens of thousands of Nigerians sold on Sowore’s advocacy of a new Nigeria. There couldn’t be a better way to show fidelity to those who sowed in faith and who, potentially, could become the foundation of Sowore’s captive audience for future aspirations.
While Sowore has given an account, not a few other parties are still embroiled in bitter fight over money. We hear of party executives bickering with their standard-bearers either over not making full disclosure of cash donations or spending without transparency.
It is as if some did not see a border between their personal pockets and the party’s pouch.
The puzzle then: if such folks cannot account for little purse of a small party, how are we to trust them with the nation’s treasury?