The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has warned elected public office holders against using state resources to fund election campaigns.
This is as it announced that the campaign expenses of political parties ahead of the 2019 general election would be tracked.
The Chairman of INEC, Prof. Moshood Yakubu, who gave the warning on Monday said that using state resources to fund campaigns was illegal.
Yakubu was represented Prof. Anthonia Okoosi-Simbine in Abuja during a stakeholders’ roundtable.
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His words: “Another interesting area of campaign finance spending to watch out for is the use of state administrative resources by incumbents, particularly now that the campaigns have kicked off. Section 100 (2) of the Electoral Act provides that state apparatus shall not be employed to the advantage or disadvantage of any political party or candidate at any election.”
He said INEC had reviewed and redesigned its campaign finance tracking and reporting forms that would be used by parties, candidates and observers.
The roundtable with the theme: “2019 elections – Political corruption and other emerging issues,” was organized by civil rights organisations, Transition Monitoring Groups and two non-governmental organizations – Voice to the People and Hope Givers.
According to the Chairperson of TMG, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, the roundtable was to seek means of ensuring a credible election in the country.
“Experiences from the off-cycle elections have shown widespread manifestation of political corruption, possibilities of widespread electoral violence, vote-buying and voter inducement. The implication or impact of vote-buying on Nigeria’s maturing democracy is well traversed.
“Through this consultation, TMG has developed people’s charter across the 36 states with the aim of using same to make demands of political party candidates to promote accountability during and after elections.”
A Professor of African History, Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Ibadan, Isaac Olawale Albert, also spoke on violence during elections.
Said he: “Electoral violence and other security concerns are not only physical but also psychological and structural. People run to their villages during elections largely because of the fear already generated by those in charge of the elections. That is psychological violence; they run because they know that the structure of the society is already compromised by certain things around them. They use what they see now to predict what could happen tomorrow.
“What we saw in Ekiti, Osun, and Rivers states suggest we have obvious problems. We need to acknowledge these problems here and discuss them rather than keep living in denial. The present structure of the Nigerian society requires that we are more careful with the 2019 elections; the country could go ablaze if we allow things to get worse.”