The Independent National Electoral Commission said on Friday it would turn its spotlight on politicians and political parties to track sources of funding for their campaigns in the 2023 general election.
The commission promised to set up a committee to monitor campaign spending ahead of the election.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, represented by its National Commissioner and Chairman of the Party Oversight Committee, Prof. Kunle Ajayi, said so in Abuja during a policy roundtable on political campaign finance organized by the Electoral Forum, an organ of the Initiative. for research, innovation and advocacy in development with support from the MacArthur Foundation.
TEF is a multi-disciplinary strategic think tank aimed at strengthening electoral governance and accountability in Nigeria through the provision of data, critical and contextualized analysis and solutions to improve the credibility and integrity of the electoral process.
The INEC chairman also said the commission would monitor the movement of money on election days to help tackle vote buying at polling stations.
Mahmood said that through the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, commercial banks would be responsible for reporting all suspicious transactions before the election.
The INEC chairman also threatened to sue any bank that did not cooperate.
He said: ‘Until we tell anyone the race for the 2023 general election has started, we don’t know what anyone is doing. We strictly follow the law.
“We have not officially declared a notice for the 2023 General Elections but when we do declare it we will set in motion our oversight committees like the Central Bank of Nigeria, DSS, EFCC, ICPC and other law enforcement agencies. We already have this plan.
“Each candidate must be required to declare his bank assets. That’s where they get their money, so we’re going to have them present their account statements right off the bat.
“We will make it mandatory for them to hand over their bank statements so that if they say they are doing billboard and the account stays the same, there is a problem.”
Speaking on the issue of vote buying, the INEC Chairman said, “We will set up finance watch teams and they will be among the electorate but they (politicians and political parties ) will not know.
“We’re going to do it in a way that reduces the influence of money because we want to make the electoral field an equal playing field for rich and poor candidates and voters. Everyone will participate on an equal economic level so no one influences the voting pattern.
According to him, apart from the electoral law, the constitution empowers INEC to also adopt any other regulations that can enhance its efficiency, adding that the electoral law empowers INEC to adopt other regulations.
A former INEC President, Professor Attahiru Jega, who spoke from outside the country, identified the lack of accountability and transparency in political campaign finance as key factors responsible for some of the challenges facing confronted the Nigerian electoral system.
Jega said, “If we insist on accountability, then you can start cleaning up somehow the way political parties fundraise. I think what happened was that we paid too much attention to the issue of electronic transmission of results, and somehow they quickly adopted the articles on the raising the threshold. The civil society organization has not paid much attention to its advocacy against this particular issue.
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