The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has vowed to painstakingly monitor the campaign finances of politicians and their political parties ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The electoral umpire further revealed it will set up monitoring teams in the build up to carry out the task.
Speaking at a policy roundtable event on political campaign finance organised by The Electoral Forum in Abuja on Friday, the INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu represented by Prof. Ajayi Kunle, the INEC National Commissioner in-charge of party monitoring committee made the Commission’s stand known.
He said, “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.
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“We have not officially declared a notice for the 2023 general elections, but when we so declare, we will put our monitoring committees to motion like the central banks, the DSS, the EFCC, the ICPC, the (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 to 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 billboard and the account remains the same, then there is a problem.”
On the issue of vote-buying, the INEC Chairman said the electoral umpire will work towards reducing the scourge to ensure a level playing field.
“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.“