In line with the objectives of the Center’s Electoral Financing project which seeks to promote transparency in candidates’ sources of campaign financing, we welcome the release of the breakdown of campaign expenses of the presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), Omoyele Sowore by the Sowore Political Action Committee (SPAC).
This is a commendable step towards promoting openness in the nation’s electoral financing processes, and it is in line with section 90 (4) of the 2022 Electoral Act which mandates any political party sponsoring the election of a candidate to, “within three months after the announcement of the results of the election, file a report of the contributions made by individuals and entities to the Commission.” By this provision, it is expected that all political parties who participated in the February 25th and March 18th presidential and gubernatorial elections would have filed details of contributions made by individuals and entities during the elections to the Independent National Electoral Commission.
This is besides the provisions of section 86 (1) which require all political parties to submit to the Commission a detailed annual statement of assets and liabilities and analysis of its sources of funds and other assets, together with the statement of its expenditure; and a separate audited return within six months after an election as provided for in section 89 (3).
As far as we know, political parties continue to disregard these provisions in the former Act, as Freedom of Information (FOI) requests made to the INEC by our Center and the Center for Journalism, Innovation & Development (CJID) to provide audited accounts of political parties has been ignored. We hope that the stringent penalty provided in 89 (4) of the 2022 EA, which include a court imposing a maximum sanction of N200,000 per day on any party for the period after the return was due will deter political parties from contravening the law. From our research, all political parties have breached this provision, but we have not seen any evidence of imposition of penalties.
On the one hand, the Center calls on political parties to take necessary steps in line with these provisions as a demonstration of their commitments to the rule of law and promotion of transparency and accountability in the nation’s electoral processes.
Also, the umpire is urged to wield its stick against any political party that failed to complied with these sections which were well thought out to promote transparency in campaign financing. To approach equity with clean hands, we equally demand that the Commission give an account of how it dispensed the 305 billion Naira received to conduct the 2023 election as well as publish its past audited reports.
Public Relations Lead