Ahead of the 2023 general elections, politicians and political parties’ sources of campaign funds will be strictly monitored.
This was the position of the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) which vowed to set up a committee to monitor election expenditure ahead of the elections.
The INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, represented by a National Commissioner, Kunle Ajayi, made the position known during a policy roundtable conference on political campaign finance organised by The Electoral Forum in Abuja on Friday.
According to him, “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 a notice for the 2023 general election, but when we so declare, we will put our monitoring committees to motion like the Central Bank of Nigeria, DSS, EFCC, the ICPC, (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 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.”
To help curb the menace of vote-buying at polling units, the INEC chairman also said that INEC would also monitor the movement of money on election days.
Mahmood said that through the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, commercial banks would be mandated to report all suspicious transactions ahead of the election.
“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 go on an equal economic level so that you won’t influence the voting pattern.”
He vowed to prosecute any bank that failed to cooperate with the commission in this regard.