AHEAD of the 2023 general election, the Independent National Electoral Commission and Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre has called for the amendment of the Electoral Act to provide stiffer penalties against violators of rules on election expenses.
Speaking at a parlay on “Strengthening Accountability Networks Among Civil Societies in Nigeria.” in Abuja, on Tuesday, Executive Director, CISLAC and Transparency International, Nigeria, Auwal Musa Rafsanjani expressed concern about the overbearing influence of money in politics as exemplified by some recently conducted elections.
He said, “The laws are in place and we should regulate how money enters politics.
“It is sad that the laws are ignored because some people think they are above the law. But we cannot flourish as a democracy if rule of law is ignored and there is no set of guidelines to regulate how we behave.
“In the last general election, over one quarter of the votes came to the ballot with an offer to sell their votes to the highest bidder. That was why we question the rationale of the ‘Tradermoni.’ As we can see, the programme disappeared after the election.”
In his contribution, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, described sanctions provided in the constitution for violators of directives relating to party finances and election expenses as relatively mild.
He said the sanctions must also include an increase in the fines and prison term for the leaders of defaulting parties.