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Electoral forum urges EFCC, ICPC to track campaign spending

By Sodiq Omolaoye, Abuja
04 October 2022   |   2:56 am
As campaigns intensify, Initiative for Research, Innovation and Advocacy in Development (IRIAD) and Electoral Hub have called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)

Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, Prof Bolaji Owasanoye.<br />Photo/FACEBOOK/inecnigeria

As campaigns intensify, Initiative for Research, Innovation and Advocacy in Development (IRIAD) and Electoral Hub have called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC) to effectively track spending by politicians.

While calling on parties and candidates to focus on policy-based electioneering centred on pressing issues in the polity, the organisations said anti-graft agencies must arrest and prosecute all electoral offenders.

The forum, in a statement by its Director, Princess Hamman-Obels, yesterday, stressed the need for inclusive campaigns, noting that it is the hallmark of democracy.

According to her, the inclusion of women, youths and Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) in the entire process would not only deepen the nation’s democracy but also ensure that political parties tap into these electoral bases.

She said: “The INEC (Independent National Electoral Commission) guideline for political rallies and campaigns by political parties, candidates and their supporters provides among other things, the distinction between political rallies and political campaigns, procedure for conducting political campaigns, conduct not permissible during political campaigns, period of political campaigns, the procedure for conducting political rallies, conduct not permissible during political rallies, target audience, etc.

“This guideline should be of top consideration by political parties and candidates in the manner they go about in their campaigns as this regulation has the binding effect of law and must be followed. Furthermore, Section 95(2) of the Electoral Act 2022 stipulates that state apparatus, including the media, shall not be employed to the advantage or disadvantage of any political party of a candidate at any election

“The Nigerian political scene is coming of age and should reflect the same in character and process of campaigns, particularly considering the ethnic and religious fault lines in our country.

“As the campaign begins, we call on political parties and candidates to jettison mudslinging and ethno-religious campaigns and focus on issues critical to our common patrimony.”

Hamman-Obels continued: “Section 97 of the Electoral Act stipulates that anybody or association that engages in campaigning or broadcast based on religion, tribal or sectional reasons for the purpose of promoting or opposing a particular candidate or party commits an offence and is liable to conviction.

“During this campaign period, The Electoral Hub calls on the candidates and political parties to comply with all legal provisions in relation to campaigns

“ The EFCC and ICPC should be fully involved in the campaigning period.

EFCC and ICPC should effectively monitor and track campaign spending.

“Police, EFCC and ICPC should arrest and prosecute electoral offenders.

“The National Human Right Commission (NHRC) should monitor, track and sanction human rights violations. The National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) should monitor adverts and hate speech and provide necessary sanctions where necessary.

“The banks should track illicit funds and report them appropriately to the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU).”