The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu, has said that all the national institutions with the responsibility for tracking and combating illicit flow of funds and the media regulatory agencies will mon-itor campaign funding and spending of the 2023 general elections.
Mahmood, at a stakeholders’ forum in Abuja organised by the Nigeria Civil Society Situ-ation Room (CSSR), said, “Turning to campaign finance, the commission is determined to tackle the matter frontally. Areas of violation include party and candidate expenditure beyond what is provided by law and the diabolical practice of vote buying at Polling Units (PUs) on Election Day.
“The commission will tomorrow (today) publish a summary of the guidelines on financ-es and election expenses of parties and candidates.
“Beyond that, we are mobilising every national institution with the responsibility for tracking and combating the illicit flow of funds, as well as the broadcast and print me-dia regulatory agencies, to confront the problem head on. The details of this will be un-veiled shortly.”
He noted that the commission started preparing for the 2023 general elections immedi-ately after the 2019 general polls, adding that based on the 14 activities listed in the timetable and schedule of activities released by the commission on February 26, 2022, it had so far implemented nine.
He said, “Similarly, we have made tremendous progress in the production and delivery of critical sensitive and non-sensitive election materials to our state offices. Recruit-ment and training of ad hoc staff for the elections is ongoing.
“On electoral logistics, particularly the arrangements for the movement of personnel and materials to various locations during elections, the commission met again with the service providers and reviewed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the road transport unions.
“Arising from our experience in previous elections, the commission has expanded the scope of collaboration to include the marine union for the riverine areas. Very soon, the revised MoU will be signed with the service providers to cover both land and mari-time transportation.”
On security, Yakubu said, “The perennial insecurity in the country is a source for con-cern. This existing challenge is compounded by the unfortunate incidents of attacks on campaigns, rallies and processions across all political parties.
“Although the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 and the commission’s Regulations and Guidelines for Political Parties are clear, the commission has found it necessary to remind political parties, candidates and their supporters on the provisions of the law and their responsibilities.
“Accordingly, tomorrow (today), the commission will release a summary highlighting the legal provisions governing the conduct of political rallies, processions and campaigns. This will be uploaded to our website and social media platforms.”
On her part, the Convener of SCSR, Ene Obi, said the situation room represented Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) at the fore of working to strengthen democracy in Nige-ria.