INEC to Demand Bank Asset Declarations from Candidates in 2023 Elections

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Bennett Oghifo

Every candidate in the 2023 election will be mandated to present their bank statements and their transactions will be tracked by the Independent National Electoral Commission with assistance from the Central Bank of Nigeria, commercial banks, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, DSS and the ICPC.

The Chairman of INEC, Mahmood Yakubu, stated this yesterday in Abuja during a policy roundtable conference on political campaign finance organised by The Electoral Forum, an organ of the Initiative for Research, Innovation and Advocacy in Development with support from MacArthur Foundation.

Yakubu, who was represented by a National Commissioner, Kunle Ajayi, said the commission was putting structures in place to track funding to prevent electoral fraud, including vote buying and movement of money on election days.

He said through theEFCC, commercial banks would be compelled to report all suspicious transactions ahead of the election, threatening to prosecute any bank that failed to make such reports.

According to the iNEC chairman, “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 notice for the 2023 general election, but when we do 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 billboards and the account remains the same, then there is a problem.”

He said, “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.”