Ahead of the release of the 2023 general elections timetable, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that it would beam its searchlight on politicians and political parties in a bid to track the sources of funds for their campaigns.
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said this on Friday in Abuja at a “High-Level Policy Roundtable Conference on Political Campaign Finance,” organised by The Electoral Forum.
He said that the commission would also monitor the movement of money on election days to help tackle vote-buying at polling units (PUs), adding that it would set up teams to monitor election spending ahead of the elections.
Yakubu represented by INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman, Election Party Monitoring Committee, Prof. Kunle Ajayi, said that through the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), commercial banks would be mandated to report all suspicious transactions ahead of the election, warning of sanctions to any bank that failed to cooperate.
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“As long as we have not notified anybody that the race to the 2023 general elections has started, we are not unaware of what anybody is doing. We follow the law strictly.
“We have not officially declared notice for the 2023 general elections, but when we so declare, we will put our monitoring committees to motion like the central banks, the DSS, the EFCC, the ICPC, the (commercial) banks and other law enforcement agencies. We have that plan already.
“Every candidate must be made to declare his bank asset. That is where they draw out their money so we will make them to present their statement of account right from the onset. We will make it mandatory for them to turn in their bank statement so that if they say they are doing billboard and the account remains the same, then there is a problem,” he said.
In her welcome address, the founder and Director of The Electoral Hub, Princess Hamman-Obels, said that money played a significant role in the electoral process of Nigeria.
She noted that politicians were spending billions of naira to secure not only candidacy from parties, but also victory at the polls.
Also, a former Chairman of INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega, identified the lack of accountability and transparency in political campaign financing as key factors responsible for some challenges facing Nigeria’s electoral system.