2023: SERAP asks Atiku, Tinubu, Obi, others to publish sources of campaign funding

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Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sent an open letter to presidential candidates ahead of the February 2023 presidential election, urging them to demonstrate leadership by directing their “campaign councils and political parties to regularly and widely publish the sources of their campaign funding.” SERAP said: “We are concerned about the vulnerability of political parties to corruption. Disproportionally large donations seeking specific outcomes or preferential treatment can subvert the wider public interest.”

In the open letter dated 29 October, 2022 and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said: “Transparency would help to control inappropriate influence on political candidates, ensure fairness, equality, and accountability in Nigeria’s democracy.” SERAP also said, “Transparency in campaign funding would improve public trust in Nigeria’s politicians and political parties, and show your commitment to prevent and combat corruption if elected.” According to SERAP, “If Nigerians know where the money is coming from, they can scrutinise the details, and hold to account the candidate and party that receive it.”

The letter, read in part: “SERAP would consider appropriate legal actions to hold you and your political party to account for any infractions of the requirements of campaign funding, as provided for by the Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended], the Electoral Act and international standards, even after the 2023 elections.” “SERAP urges you to sign ‘transparency pacts’ that would mandate you to disclose the identities of donors and widely publish donations and contributions including on your party website and social media platforms.”

“Party corruption undermines the legitimacy of government, public trust and, ultimately, democracy.” “Opacity in campaign funding can distort the electoral competition and lead to state capture by wealthy politicians and individuals, and encourage politicians to divert public resources for political purposes.”

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