Politicians on edge as INEC goes after campaign spending violators

Politicians on edge as INEC goes after campaign spending violators

- INEC has moved to enforce the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 on campaign spending; putting politicians and political parties on edge

- The electoral commission has started compiling reports on the violation of the campaign spending limit, based on information received from 10 state offices

- Some politicians who commented on INEC’s latest move, however, said they were not comfortable with the commission’s position, even though the law was clear on the matter

- An INEC official said the commission is working hard to ensure that violators of the Electoral Act face the full wrath of the law

Nigerian politicians and political parties are not at ease at the moment as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has moved to enforce the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 on campaign spending.

According to Leadership, 10 INEC state offices have delivered reports on politicians and political parties that breached the law during their campaign for the 2019 polls, to the electoral commission.

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Legit.ng gathers that credible sources have revealed that INEC has started compiling reports on the violation of the campaign spending limit, based on information received from the 10 state offices.

INEC had pegged the maximum expenditure of presidential candidates at N1 billion and N200 million for governorship candidates, before the 2019 polls were conducted.

Based on the provisions of Section 91 of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended, INEC also fixed campaign spending for senatorial and House of Representatives candidates at N40 million and N20 million respectively.

In the case of the presidential election, the Electoral Act stipulates a N1 million fine or one-year jail term or both, in the event of any violation of the law.

For the Senate race, the punishment is a N600,000 fine or six months’ jail term or both; while for House of Representatives candidates who violate the law, punishment is a N500,000 fine or five months jail term or both.

For the governorship race, offenders risk a fine of N800,000 or nine months’ jail term or both while state Houses of Assembly contestants who also breached the law risk a fine of N300,000 or three months’ jail term or both.

Names of politicians who exceeded the campaign spending limit were reportedly listed by the state INEC offices who submitted reports to the commission’s headquarters.

Speaking on the development on Monday, April 29, the spokesman for the INEC chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, Rotimi Oyekanmi, said Section 86 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) is very clear on the powers of the electoral commission to keep records of the activities of all registered political parties in the country.

Some politicians who commented on INEC’s latest move, however, said they were not comfortable with the commission’s position, even though the law was clear on the matter. They asserted that elections in Nigeria are very expensive.

Efforts to get details on the states where INEC had received reports on the violators of the law were unsuccessful, as officials of the electoral commission said that it was early to do so.

A senior INEC official simply said: “Before now, states always prepared their reports separately but things have changed because the team which worked on the 2019 campaign finance tracking want to release a single report.

“The names are now being compiled and over 10 states have submitted their reports to the headquarters.

“Yes, the states are submitting their reports and over 10 have brought theirs to the Abuja office. The commission is working hard to ensure that violators of the Electoral Act face the full wrath of the law.”

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Recall that Legit.ng previously reported that INEC inaugurated a 10-member Inter-agency Campaign Finance Monitoring Group to help monitor and track campaign finances of political parties and their candidates in the 2019 general elections.

INEC national commissioner, Prof Antonia Okosi-Simbina, while inaugurating the group on behalf of the commission, said that the aim was to monitor the spending of all the candidates and political parties to ensure they did not exceed the amount specified by the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).

She said that the group would be working with the Electoral Finance and Party Monitoring Department of the commission to track the finances.

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Source: Legit.ng

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