INEC silent about enforcement of campaign finance provisions in the new electoral act
Nigeria’s new Electoral Act was welcomed by political finance experts across Africa on the basis of the progressive provisions on campaign finance. Once the legislators and President Muhammadu Buhari had done their part of passing and assenting to the law respectively, the spotlight shifted to INEC. However, just like it disappointed with the BVAS and IREV, INEC was also unable to track the finances of political parties using the new Electoral Act.
The 2022 Electoral Act empowered INEC to monitor the activities of political parties (section 83); and prescribed offences for political parties that fail to provide the requisite information to INEC (Section 85). INEC was empowered to limit contributions to political parties (section 87); monitor election expenses and limitations of election expenses by political parties (Section 88 & 89) and also ensure that political parties disclose their funding sources (section 89).
However, political analysts in Nigeria inform Secrets Known that INEC reneged on the mandate to enforce the campaign finance provisions in the new electoral act. INEC did not put in place any machinery to monitor campaign spending during the 2023 Nigeria elections.
This begs the question of whether INEC has the wherewithal later on the interest, in promoting political finance transparency in Nigeria. Thus, one way of ensuring transparency in political financing in Nigeria is by empowering citizens and citizen organisations to oversee and monitor the source of financing for elections, political parties and other forms of democratic politics.
Secrets Known has learned that in this regard, the pan-African political finance watchdog, Alliance for Finance Monitoring (ACFIM) has scaled up its coverage to West Africa to empower and capacitate civil society organisations to take more interest in monitoring political financing in Nigeria.
Today, money in politics has increasingly become an area of interest and concern in Africa. Tackling the ill effects of money in politics will help level the electoral playing field and get more women and youth on the ballot papers because for the longest time, they have been excluded due to a lack of access to campaign finance.