By Ebunoluwa Sessou
Convener of the 40Million Ballots Movement, Comrade Kennedy Iyere has described the reports going viral on social media over the unveiling of the FUND40MB, a PAC-driven global donor-fundraising campaign anchored by the 40Million Ballots Movement (40MB), as mischievous.
Iyere, veteran donor-fundraiser, grant expert and humanitarian activist, cleared the air about the official launching of the FUND40MB which took place last week revealed that the platform was created for the purpose of raising, generating and mobilizing funds to assist the campaign activities of the various support groups of Peter Obi, or OBIdient Movement ahead of the 2023 presidential election.
Speaking at the press conference where he explained the rationale behind the platform, Iyere said, the mandate of the 40Million Ballots Movement (40MB) is to mobilize forty million youth and women voters for the electoral victory of Peter Obi in the forthcoming 2023 presidential poll. Adding that, the 40Million Ballots Movement (40MB) is chaired by Prof Pat Utomi.
According to him, “The public unveiling of FUND40MB was conducted and performed by Prof Pat Utomi, a renowned political economist, notable elder statesman, national opinion molder and one of the closest allies of Peter Obi.
“But just within some few days after the public unveiling of FUND40MB, some mischief makers have released a media report which claimed that the creation of FUND40MB was as a result of an alleged disagreement involving Peter Obi and Prof Pat Utomi which is all about the control of the campaign funds donated to Labour Party and selection of signatories to the Labour Party’s campaign fund accounts.
“The media mischief makers went further to falsely affirm that allies of Peter Obi have sidelined the National Chairman of Labour Party, Julius Abure, who they alleged was earlier listed as one of the signatories.
“These reporters are jobless and were obviously paid to carry out this act of mischief against Peter Obi, Prof Pat Utomi and Comrade Kennedy Iyere but unfortunately they have failed to realize that these three men are too focused to be distracted from their mission, which is about Nigeria’s political rescue and redemption in 2023.
“The 40Million Ballots Movement (40MB) and its affiliated political support platforms have no collaborative status or operational relationship with the Labour Party. We had long been active in the political arena before Peter Obi joined the PDP Presidential Race.
“When we formed the 40Million Ballots Movement (40MB), Peter Obi was not part of our plan and the Labour Party on the other hand was comatose. The entrance of Peter Obi resuscitated Labour Party as a dead Party and for that reason; people like Julius Abure should be thankful to Prof Pat Utomi rather than engage in acts of media blackmail against him and the rest of us who paid the ultimate price for Peter Obi’s evolution into a political movement.
“40Million Ballots Movement (40MB) is independent of Peter Obi’s influence and does take directives from neither Peter Obi nor Labour Party but operates to provide support for Peter Obi and its various support groups”, Iyere further affirmed.
According to him, “Neither Peter Obi nor Labour Party has input in the activities and programmes of the 40Million Ballots Movement (40MB) and its allied platforms, which include FUND40MB and others.
“FUND40MB was launched out of the need to help mobilize campaign funds for various credible support groups of Peter Obi, also collectively known as OBIdient Movement. Hence, the fundraising campaign which was unveiled by Prof Pat Utomi, on August 15, 2022”, he stressed.
“Abure-led Labour Party is not willing to adopt and absorb the various support groups of Peter Obi, thus compelling the need to devise an independent funding platform for the OBIdient Movement and its various members. This is the reality that prompted the creation of FUND40MB.
“I am of the belief and conviction that the Labour Party does not have the capacity to win the 2023 presidential election for Peter Obi but the support groups of Peter Obi which make up the OBIdient Movement have the capacity to win the presidential election of 2023 for Peter Obi.
“There is a need to rely more on the support groups than on the Labour Party. This was the reason I founded FUND40MB for the purpose of fundraising globally to support and finance the activities and programmes of the various members of the OBIdient Movement.
“Not every political party is capable of generating sufficient campaign funds, it takes lots of credibility, connections, contacts and above all, the expertise and the right people.
“Only faceless journalists and media organizations with no registered business name are capable of peddling fake news just like they have done against us. They have no business address, no portfolio, no professional association and no identity. They are useless as the false news they promote”, he said.