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Campaign funding: INEC inaugurates Monitoring Group to track Parties’ spending

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Campaign funding: INEC inaugurates Monitoring Group to track Parties’ spending

Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has inaugurated a Monitoring Group to track the campaign finance of political parties, so as to curb vote buying and ensure Political parties’ spending does not go above the ceiling.

National Commissioner, Prof. Anthonia Okosisi Simbine, speaking at the inauguration held at the Commission’s headquarters Abuja, yesterday, said the ceiling on election will no longer be tenable due to increase in the cost of living in the country, but, there is need to monitor campaign finance of Political parties, so as to dissuade vote buying, as well as ensure credibility of our electoral process.

In her words; “The ceiling on election will no longer be tenable due to increase in the cost of living, if we have to increase it ourselves, we have to put in some things into considering like where the money is coming from.

“We have to even consider the fact that some parties don’t have the resources to compete favourably with other political parties, we have to partner with some stakeholders like the Nigeria police Force, NPF, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, amongst others.”

Prof. Simbine speaking further said, after the Monitoring Group has submitted its report after the elections, the Commission will publish the report so that the entire country will know who are those that spent outside the window.

“It is not only in the area of vote buying that we should beam our search light on, the sponsoring of candidates, media adverts, though maybe difficult to track, but essential too, so as to know those political parties who have fallen foul of the provision of the law on campaign finance,” she stated.

Barr Ishaq Garba Aliu, of the Centre for Social Justice, one of the Civil Society Groups present, while highlighting the challenges the CSO faced while trying to track the campaign finance after the 2015 general elections, stated that some political parties out of ignorance did not give their financial report to them, while some on the other hand did it deliberately.

“Only one political party yielded after much pressure, even some media houses refuse to divulge information of their clients on their campaign spending.”

He posited that INEC has then strengthened the capacity of its personnel on effective campaign finance tracking and in collaboration with the CSOs have sensitized political parties on the need to disclose their campaign finances.

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