Obama rejects Nigerian fundraiser

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The campaign organisation of US Democratic Party presidential candidate Barack Obama has disowned a Nigerian group that has embarked on a fund raising campaign for the organisation.

‘Africa for Obama’, headed by the controversial head of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Dr. Ndi Okereke-Onyuike, had recently raised 100 million naira (US$847,457) from a high-profile dinner in the Nigerian economic capital.

Tickets at the dinner, held 11 August, ranged from 325,000 naira (US$2,754) to 2.5 million naira (US$21,186).

Apparently following enquiries by local Punch newspaper, the Obama campaign organisation wrote a letter to the newspaper dissociating itself from the fund-raiser, because US laws do not permit American politicians to take money from non-US citizens or people who don’t have permanent US residency.

Punch quoted the letter by the Staff Counsel for the Obama for America, Ms. Kendall C. Burman, as saying in part: “We want to inform you that Obama for America, Inc, which is the principal campaign committee for Senator Barrack Obama in his campaign for President of the United States, and the Democratic National Committee are in no way affiliated with this event or with this organisation.

“Obama for America and the Democratic National Committee will not accept any funds raised at this event or through the fund-raising activities of this group.

“We want to make it clear that the event and this organisation are in no way associated with Obama for America of the Democratic National Committee should this organisation seek to place additional advertisement in your paper.”

The turn of events will surely delight critics of the fund-raising, who had said the action could affect Obama’s chances and portray him as appealing to racial sentiments.

The critics were particularly irked by the involvement of Okereke-Onyuike, a close ally of former President Olusegun Obasanjo who also helped raised funds for his campaign and was believed to have supported his aborted attempt to seek an unconstitutional third term in office.

But the Punch quoted Okereke-Onyuike as saying the money raised was to be used for an awareness campaign to sensitize African-Americans to register and vote for Obama.

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