Chuks Okocha in Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has accused the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), the Labour Party and other political parties that participated in the 2019 general election of failure to submit post-elections audited account to the commission, five months after the completion of the general election.
According to the commission, only four political parties have complied with the requirements of the Electoral Act, within the three months provided by the law, to submit their audited accounts on their expenditures to the commission.
INEC National Commissioner in charge of Voter Education and Public Enlightenment, Mr. Festus Okoye, told THISDAY at the weekend that the electoral umpire might be compelled to submit its report to the National Assembly without the audited reports of the defaulting political parties.
Okoye said only the Action Democratic Party, Liberation Movement, All Grassroots Alliance, and Yes Party had submitted their audited accounts.
“The law obligated every political party to submit a report of their expenditure in relation to their candidates. This is covered by Sections 91 and 93 of the Electoral Act, which state that every political party must submit the expenditure incurred by its candidate within a period of three months after the completion of elections.
“The three months have elapsed; now only four political parties have submitted as required by law. And the parties are Action Democratic Party, Liberation Movement, All Grassroots Alliance and Yes Party. Then there is also a fifth component to it; that is the one submitted by ACPN.
“The law requires the registered political parties to do the submission, but in relation to ACPN, it is the presidential candidate that submitted; so, there is still a question mark relating to what was submitted. So, for the commission only four political parties have complied fully with that section of the constitution. If you look at Section 93 closely, it says that no political party shall accept or keep in its possession any anonymous money or contributions, gift, property, etc from any source.
“And it also provides that every political party shall keep an account into which shall be recorded: (a) all monetary and other forms of contributions received by the party and (b) the name and address of anybody or an entity that contributes money or assets which exceed N1million.
“Then it goes further to say that no political party shall accept any contributions exceeding N1,000 unless it can identify the source of that money or other contribution. It finally provides that every political party sponsoring the election of any candidate shall within three months after the announcement of the election result, signed a report of the contribution made by individuals and submit to the commission.
“So, that is why we are saying that only four political parties have complied, while the fifth political party have not fully complied because the law requires that the party should comply and not the presidential candidate,” he said.
On the implications or sanctions facing political parties that are yet to comply, Okoye said: “The law says we should submit report to the National Assembly and if any party failed to comply, the commission should explain to the National Assembly. So, it is now the responsibility of the National Assembly to sanction any political party that has not complied.
“For the account relating to 2017 and 2018 before this year runs out, the commission will make sure that the report is submitted, including the parties that did not comply. Now every register political party in Nigeria must understand that it has a mandatory duty to conform to Section 221 to 229 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), and that failure to comply is in breach of its requirements for its registration.”
When contacted on why the APC was yet to submit its audited account to INEC, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Lanre Issa-Onilu, said he should be given time to get the necessary facts about it by today.
His PDP counterpart, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, also said he would find out from the party’s Finance Department to know why the delay in submitting the post-election audited account.