SERAP writes INEC, seeks details of financial transactions of political parties

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Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged Professor Mahmood Yakubu, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to “widely publish the 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.”

SERAP urged him to “urgently 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 is taking to prevent vote buying in the forthcoming elections in Ekiti and Osun states and 2023 general elections, and to prosecute vote buyers and other electoral offenders.”

Recently, the All Progressives Congress (APC) 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. Some leading political parties and politicians also spend between N250 to N14,000 to buy votes. In the letter dated 21 May, 2022 and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, 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 is 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.” SERAP also said, “It is both immoral and illegal to pay citizens to vote for a particular political party or candidate. Unpunished cases of vote buying and related electoral offences would continue to undermine good governance, the rule of law, moral values, as well as hinder citizens’ participation in elections.”

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