2023: INEC To Demand Politicians’ Bank Statements, Use DSS, Others To Track Campaign Funding

The Independent National Commission (INEC) has drawn out plans to frustrate funding of election campaigns with illicit funds in the 2023 general elections.

The plan which also aims to check vote-buying at polling units on election days would be achieved using financial, security and anti-graft agencies in the country.

INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this at a conference on political campaign finance organised by The Electoral Forum on Friday in Abuja.

According to Yakubu, INEC will work with the Central Bank of Nigeria, Department of State Services (DSS), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) to monitor funding of campaigns by politicians.

“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 elections, but when we so declare, we will put our monitoring committees to motion like the central banks, DSS, EFCC, 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,” said the INEC chairman.

On how the commission will curb vote-buying, Yakubu said: “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 be on equal level so that you won’t influence the voting pattern.”

Also speaking at the conference, former INEC chairman, Attahiru Jega, said the country’s electoral system had long been bedeviled by lack of accountability and transparency in political campaign financing.

“If we insist on accountability, then you can begin to somehow sanitise the way political parties raise funds. I think what has happened is that we paid too much attention to the issue of electronic transmission of results, and somehow, they quickly passed the sections about raising the threshold. The civil societies did not pay much attention in their advocacy against this particular issue.

“Nevertheless, I wouldn’t advise or recommend that we delay the passage of the Bill on account of this particular issue. What we should be exploring are ways and means of ensuring that there is accountability about how these funds are raised and the spending ceiling is met as well as how the expenditure is done,” Jega said.

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