Professor Christopher Imumolen, running for president of the Accord Party (AP), rejected the idea that only candidates with lots of money can win the presidential election. Imumolen, the youngest candidate in the race, has issued a statement in response to comments made by former statesman Afe Babalola on the role of money in the elections.
Babalola said someone with the “biggest pocket” would win the election. Imumolen argued that the emphasis should be on candidates’ policies and their ability to deliver on their promises rather than on how much money they have. He cited several examples of presidential candidates who won with little money, including Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999, Umar Yar’Adua in 2007, and Muhammadu Buhari in 2015.
Imumolen said that voters are looking for a leader who can make a positive difference and improve their lives, not someone who can throw money around. He called on all candidates to put forward their ideas and vision for the country instead of counting on financial resources to win votes. Imumolen concluded by saying that the 2023 presidential election should focus on selecting the best candidate, not the wealthiest.
“The 2023 presidential elections is not going to be won by one who thinks he can make a difference. Neither will it be the person with the right age, health, education or patriotism.
“Rather, it will be the person who has made money in this country, the person with the deepest pocket that will win the elections,” Babalola said.
Reacting on Channels TV Talkshow, ‘Politics Today’, Imumolen criticised Babalola’s claims, citing several instances to support his opinion.
“With all due respect, I disagree with our most learned elder statesman, Afe Babalola on his claims that the person with the deepest pocket in this year’s presidential race will ultimately win the elections.
“There are several instances, particularly since the advent of the 4th Republic in 1999 where money was never the determining factor in whom became Nigeria’s president.
“Let’s start with the 1999 presidential elections between Chief Olusegun Obasanjo of the PDP and Chief Olu Falae of the then AD.
“Obasanjo, if we’d recall, won that elections despite not having bags of money to throw around. Infact, he had just returned from prison where he had no money or played any active politics before the elections.
“Then, came his successor Umar Yar’Adua. Yar’Adua, we also know had just finished his tenure as Katsina State governor and wasn’t one you could refer to as someone who could, solely on the strength of his wealth, win the country’s presidency.
“Even then, we had more people in the race who could have beaten him hands down were cash the sole determinant of who clinched the presidency. But at the end, he won.
“Never mind that he said the system that ushered him into power was flawed. The truth is that he won.
“Again, let’s look at current president, Muhammadu Buhari. We all know that if it came to who had the most cash to throw around, it would have been Dr Goodluck Jonathan who was then the incumbent president.
“Yet, against all odds, Buhari stormed to victory and he is just about completing his eight-year tenure as Nigeria’s president.
“So, these examples tell us that it is not necessarily the man with the deepest pocket who always ends up as Nigeria’s president.
“In this year’s presidential race, I think the people’s genuine wish to see a change from the old ways of doing things to a new one could prove the determining factor, rather than the now outdated method of trying to buy people’s conscience through prodigal spending”, the AP flagbearer added.