ASAP, PREMIUM TIMES to hold symposium on political campaign funding, poverty

By The Citizen

As the 2015 general elections draw nearer, the Academics Stand Against Poverty, ASAP, an association of academics across the globe is organizing a symposium to address issues of campaign funding in political parties and its link with corruption.

The inaugural symposium themed ‘Political Campaigns and the Looming Tsunami of Poverty’ is done in collaboration with PREMIUM TIMES, Nigeria’s leading online investigative newspaper.

Akin Oyebode, a Professor of International Law and Jurisprudence, would deliver the keynote address at the event which will holdon January 27th at the University of Lagos.

According to Ismail Ibraheem, Co-Chair of ASAP, West Africa, the discussion became imperative against the backdrop of corruption plaguing the nation as well as the forthcoming general elections.

“As a matter of fact, corruption has become endemic in the nation's body politics,” said Mr. Ibraheem.

“Needless stressing the fact that political corruption which can be traced to the iniquitous need to satisfy the urge of political godfathers and sponsors who bankroll the campaigns of candidates that eventually get elected into political office, is another major problem of Nigeria.

“The end result of political corruption is the diversion of public funds meant for developmental purposes into private accounts.”

Mr. Ibraheem noted that such political misdemeanor had not only set Nigeria backward but had largely contributed to the increasing level of poverty of its citizens.

“In the 15 years of this on-going democratic experiment, the only visible growth in the country is the democratization of poverty.”

ASAP is an organization established in the United States of America by Thomas Pogge, Professor of Philosophy, Yale University, to bring together academics from various institutions across the globe with the vision to fight poverty and aid development.

Speakers at the one day event include Rahman Ade Bello, the Vice Chancellor of University of Lagos; A.M Ninalowo, Professor of Sociology, University of Lagos; Mr. Pogge; and Ralph Akinfeleye, Professor of Journalism and Communication, University of Lagos.

Other speakers include Dapo Olorunyomi, Publisher of PREMIUM TIMES newspaper; Femi Aribisala, scholar and international affairs expert; Femi Fani-Kayode, Director of Media and Publicity of the Peoples’ Democratic Party’s presidential campaign; Femi Falana, human rights lawyer; Innocent Chukwuma, Regional Representative for West Africa, Ford Foundation; and Hussein Abdu, Director, Action Aid, Nigeria.

Mr. Ibraheem said the symposium would serve as an opportunity to lend a voice to the looming inequality and tsunami of poverty threatening the structural foundation of the country.

“ASAP believes that one of the ways to tackle poverty is to attack the root cause of poverty which is corruption,” he said.