Money Obama can’t have

TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images Despite the record-breaking fundraising the Barack Obama campaign has done in recent months — $235 million in the first quarter of 2008 — here’s one place from which funds will not be flowing: Nigeria. Since Obama announced his candidacy, local groups waving the Obama banner have shot up throughout Africa, and Nigeria ...

By , International Crisis Group’s senior analyst for Colombia.
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592852_080903_obama5.jpg

TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images

Despite the record-breaking fundraising the Barack Obama campaign has done in recent months -- $235 million in the first quarter of 2008 -- here's one place from which funds will not be flowing: Nigeria.

Since Obama announced his candidacy, local groups waving the Obama banner have shot up throughout Africa, and Nigeria is no exception. The Obama Nigeria Initiatives, Lagos (which boasts the membership of 30 Lagos state senators), and Africans for Obama (led by the head of the Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission) are just a few impressive examples.

TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images

Despite the record-breaking fundraising the Barack Obama campaign has done in recent months — $235 million in the first quarter of 2008 — here’s one place from which funds will not be flowing: Nigeria.

Since Obama announced his candidacy, local groups waving the Obama banner have shot up throughout Africa, and Nigeria is no exception. The Obama Nigeria Initiatives, Lagos (which boasts the membership of 30 Lagos state senators), and Africans for Obama (led by the head of the Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission) are just a few impressive examples.

Campaign contributions, however, cannot come from abroad under U.S. law, which got the Nigerian anti-corruption commission wondering how $630,000 from a lavish Obama gala in Lagos was spent. The BBC reports that the commission has since seized the money, earned through ticket prices ranging from $2,754 to $21,000.

The unlucky attendees, wondering now where that money will end up, should have listened earlier. In July, the founder of the group, Professor Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke told local press:

We are also not out to raise funds to support Obama, we are simply Africans who regard the unfolding development as a pride to the black continent.”

The Obama campaign has distanced itself from the fundraiser. Were it legal, that would be no small sacrifice — to make that same $630,000, Obama would need 126,000 of the $5 contributions his campaign has thrived upon so far.

Elizabeth Dickinson is International Crisis Group’s senior analyst for Colombia.

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