Posted by Editor | 22 January 2022, 04:35am | 165
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has vowed to curb the negative influence of money in the 2023 elections, with measures to ensure that politicians are put in check in that regard.
Mahmood Yakubu, INEC Chairman, said that there would be strict monitoring by the commission to ensure that election expenditure of candidates are confined within the threshold of the laws.
Not only would it beam its searchlight on politicians and political parties to track the sources of funds for their campaigns in the 2023 general election, the use of such funds, would also be strictly monitored, he said.
The INEC boss, who was represented by a National Commissioner, Kunle Ajayi, at a policy roundtable conference on political campaign finance organised by The Electoral Forum, in Abuja, said the measure would also include ensuring the end to vote-buying.
He said: “As long as we have not notified anybody that the race to the 2023 general election 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 election, but when we so declare, we will put our monitoring committees to motion like the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), DSS, EFCC, the ICPC, (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 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.”
Emphasising that INEC would also monitor the movement of money on election days to help tackle vote-buying at polling units, he added that through the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), commercial banks would be mandated to report all suspicious transactions ahead of the election.
He warned that any commercial bank that collaborated with politicians or failed to cooperate with the commission would be prosecuted, stating: “We are going to establish finance monitoring teams and they will be among the electorate but they (politicians and political parties) won’t know.
“We are going to do it in a way that the influence of money will be reduced because we want to make the electoral field a level playing ground for both rich and poor candidates and electorates. Everybody will go on an equal economic level so that you won’t influence the voting pattern.”