Peter Obi Abroad, Seeks a Cut of $20 Billion of Diaspora Remittances

Peter Obi Abroad, Seeks a Cut of $20 Billion of Diaspora Remittances

  • The Presidential candidates of the Labour Party, Peter Obi is currently on tour of several countries in Europe and America
  • Obi is seeking to raise funds for his 2023 political campaign which is highly monetized in Nigeria as election approaches
  • According to reports, candidates for the presidential election would need as much $2 billion to fund their campaigns

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said that Nigeria recorded $2.4 billion in diaspora remittances under its Naira 4-dollar scheme in 2022.

The CBN created the scheme in March 2021 to induce Diaspora Nigerians to send money back home and for beneficiaries who seek to withdraw their money in the local currency.

Peter Obi, Disapora remittance
Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi Credit: AFP / Stringer
Source: Getty Images

Nigeria sees increased diaspora remittance

Reports say that under the policy, beneficiaries receive N5 for $1 as a remittance.

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Vanguard reports that diaspora inflow has increased by 20.5 per cent to stand at $5.16 billion in the first quarter of 2022.

Diaspora funding is a honey pot for the Nigerian government and has aided in forex inflow into the country, badly hit by the scarcity of hard currencies.

The $20 billion diaspora remittance is what most politicians in Nigeria seek to have a slice of.

Nigeria has the highest diaspora remittances in Africa, according to recent data.

The total remittance inflows into Nigeria stood at $19.5 billion in 2021, the highest in Africa.

Politicians honey pot

Politicians see this as veritable fund sources as campaigns official starts in Nigeria this month.

Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, is seeking a cut of the diaspora money to fund his campaign, which does not come cheap in Nigeria.

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Obi is currently on a tour of seven cities in the US, Germany and Canada not just to garner support but snap up the much-needed funding as he seeks to upstage wealthier opponents like Atiku Abubakar and Bola Tinubu, both entrenched in the establishment.

Obi is known for his frugality, which has endeared him to a horde of young supporters who have bought into his philosophy of not using money to buy votes.

The slogan, ‘we no dey give shishi’ resonates among his army of vibrant youth supporters who coined it to counter the fiery Enugu clergyman, Rev Fr. Ekike Mbaka, who labelled the former governor of Anambra State stingy.

'We no dey give shishi endears Obi to supporters

According to The Africa Report, Obi defected to the Labour Party when it became obvious that delegates to the presidential primaries of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) would be induced with as much as $20,000 by presidential candidates.

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Elections in Nigeria are highly monetized

To win any presidential election in Nigeria, candidates could spend as much as $2 billion. The fund will be used for transportation, mobilization, voter education, promotion, and paying party agents at various polling units and other necessities.

It is dicey in Nigeria as the 2023 election approaches, and campaign periods are extended from three months to five months provided for in the new Electoral Act.

The polling units have also increased from 120,000 to 176,846, which portends more spending for candidates.

The cost of elections in Nigeria has prompted corrupt public officials to desecrate the public purse to fund elections.

Reports say, in 2015, about $2 billion was diverted from the public purse to fund the re-election bid of ex-president Goodluck Jonathan. Corruption has landed several public officials, including Sambo Dansuki, former security adviser, in trouble.

Until recently, Obi was seen as the underdog but has risen to become a credible threat, and the much-touted third force has firmly taken root under him. However, he has no collaborator in government. Therefore, he can hardly match the spending power of Tinubu and Atiku, both of whom have candidates in power at the federal and state levels.

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To participate in these events which are planned to raise funds for Obi, attendees pay as much as $200 and $100 for registration and dinner.

The Labour Party has also set up an 11-member committee charged with fund-raising from supporters in the Diaspora and setting up foreign chapters.

Obi seeks to raise about $150 million in funding from the Diaspora alone, which means sinking his teeth deep into diaspora inflow to Nigeria.

Latest record show 10 African countries with highest diaspora remittances reported that Nigerians abroad have sent a total of $19.2 billion home in 2022 alone. World Bank said that in 2022, the remittance view is moderately positive, according to Business Insider.

The bank released its Migration and Development Brief, saying that growth is expected to continue at 7.0 per cent to $55 billion.

The growth, World Bank said, is despite the general adverse economic environment globally.


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