SERAP Writes INEC, Seeks Political Parties’ Details of Financial Transactions
Udora Orizu in Abuja
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Prof. Mahmood Yakubu to publish reports on the accounts and balance sheet of every political party submitted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to the National Assembly since 2015.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) recently collected N100 million for its presidential form while the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) collected N40 million for its presidential form for the 2023 election, with the political parties raking in billions of naira from the process.
However, in a letter dated May 21, 2022, and signed by its Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, SERAP urged Yakubu to examine the books and records of financial transactions of political parties, and to make public the outcome of any such examination.
SERAP also urged him to provide details of the guidelines and steps that INEC was taking to prevent vote buying in the forthcoming elections in Ekiti and Osun states and the 2023 general elections, and to prosecute vote buyers and other electoral offenders.
The organisation said Nigerians have the right to know about the accounts and financial transactions of their political parties, especially the major parties with a strong possibility to assume government in the future.
According to SERAP, transparency and accountability of political parties was important to achieve greater transparency in public life, curb the influence of money in politics, promote a level playing field, and remove the risks to the independence of political actors and would-be public office holders.
The letter read in part: “When a political candidate decides to buy the support of the people rather than contest fairly for their votes, there are possibilities that such candidate will show a disregard for democratic rules and a disposition to adopt illegal means becomes inevitable.
“Vote buying and related electoral offences encourage poor governance and weaken citizens’ capacity to hold their elected officials accountable for their actions.
“SERAP urges you to urgently take measures and to collaborate with appropriate anti-corruption agencies to ensure the effective prosecution of any outstanding cases of vote buying and related electoral offences allegedly committed in the context of the 2019 general elections. “We would be grateful if the recommended measures are taken within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, SERAP shall consider appropriate legal actions to compel INEC to comply with our request in the public interest.”