Organisation tasks INEC on political parties’ finance monitoring

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By Emmanuel Oloniruha

The Abuja School of Social and Political Thought (ASSPT) has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to be proactive in the monitoring and regulation of political parties’ finances.

The Director of ASSPT, Dr Sam Amadi, who made the call in Abuja, also urged INEC to prescribe a specific format in which parties and their candidates would submit their generated funds and expenditure to the commission.

Amadi while commending the Labour Party (LP), for making public its income and expenditure for the 2023 General Elections, decried INEC’s failure to meet its obligation in compelling political parties to submit their financial details to the commission.

He said that Section 225 of the Constitution and Section 70-87, mandated parties after general elections to submit their audited financial reports to INEC, but the commission had not been effective in that area.

He recalled that as part of efforts to ensure that INEC was alive to its responsibility in that regard, the school in November 2022 sued the commission at the Federal High Court, Abuja, in suit number FHC/ABUCS/2037/2022.

Amadi said that the court, led by Justice Binta Nyako, in its ruling in favour of the school, compelled INEC to effectively implement the statutory obligation.

“I want to use this opportunity to commend the LP and its Presidential Candidate, Peter Obi, for being the first to issue these statements, but that is not enough.

“If INEC had done its job, which is to prescribe a format, LP would have filled a form and outline individual contributions, we would have known that `Mr X’ gave a specific amount of money.

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“In other countries, parties will issue quarterly reports on how much they received from citizens and donors, and how much they have spent. They will file it to the electoral commission and they will publish it.

“You can’t fight corruption without creating a documentary process by which everybody can see through.

“So, I am calling on INEC again to wake up and do its job.

“Set out a comprehensive documentation so that each party will hire somebody whose job will be to make that entry, file it properly and make it available to the public,” he said.

Amadi said that proper documentation of parties’ finances by INEC was a critical component that would not only strengthen credibility of elections, but also help to reduce the cost of elections.

He added that it would also help whistleblowers to expose corruption tendencies with party finances.

“Today we call on INEC to fix this campaign finance leakage.

“If INEC has no skilled manpower for that, we, as a school, is going to volunteer with other Nigerians to provide quality service at no cost to INEC to set up this regulatory framework.

“So that after elections, Nigerians can know with certainty how much party `A’ got, how much it spent for `A,B,C’,” he said.

Amadi also called on the National Assembly to unbundle INEC, to allow it have the sole responsibility of conducting credible elections.

He suggested the establishment of another commission to take up the responsibility of vetting candidates’ qualifications, as well as party regulations and monitoring.

He also called on the National Assembly to set up a special committee to audit INEC’s account.

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“INEC shouldn’t be the one auditing itself. There should be a parliamentary audit that should tell Nigerians what INEC did and didn’t do, “ he said. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

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Edited by Nyisom Fiyigon Dore

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