A Non Governmental Organization in Osun state, Justice Development and Peace Maker’s Centre, (JDPMC), has said that the only way to eliminate the menace of vote buying that has crippled the electoral processes in Nigeria is to criminalise the act with severe prison without option of fine.
The General Coordinator of JDPMC, Rev Father Peter Akinkunmi, gave the recommendation at a press conference and public presentation of the findings from the Nationwide monitoring of campaign finance of the main political parties and candidates for the 2019 president election in Nigeria, held in Osogbo, on Friday.
Akinkunmi noted that the major political parties based on their findings spent against what is stipulated in the electoral laws, saying all hands must be on deck to eradicate this ugly situation.
According to him, “vote buying should be criminalised with severe prison sentence with no option of fine. All hands must be deck to ensure the emergence if a more effective legal framework and enforcement mechanism at least two years before the 2023 general election
“Sanctions for over spending in the present framework lacks the capacity of deterrence and is inadequate for satisfaction of justice in case of default by prescribing a fine of a million of naira or 12 months imprisonment .
“Effective sanctioned period as well as deregistration plot political parties involved, sanctioning of principal party officers and candidate with more severe prison sentence without option of fine
While calling for electoral reforms, Akinkunmi said ” Legal Framework on campaign Finance of the 2010 Electoral Act should also pay attention to candidates’ personal expenditure.
He added that, establishment of active and efficient inter-agency mechanism for the tracking of campaign finance, “since the problems related to campaign finance is multidimensional and requires active interagency efforts to combat it, there is the need for Inter-agency committee set up by INEC to manifest political will and develop drastic improvement in the enforcement of the campaign finance laws established by the provisions of 1999 constitution and the 2010 electoral acts with the view to checking the excessive use of money in politics.”
“The government, international communities and international NGOs should support grassroots CSOs in the building their capacity in carrying out effective campaign monitoring at all levels of our politics.”
“International community should evolve sanctions that could enable many state develop the political Will to regulate campaign finance as it did with military dictatorship
“Improvement in the national Cash policy; improvement of banking security with the introduction of BVN and TSA as mitigated reckless movement of fund from one bank account to another . Most questionable transactions especially during the period of election are done with raw cash .We recommend a serious review if cash movement policy to ensure that internal movement of cash by non- financial institution are monitored and that effective surveillance is set on activities of financial institutions at all times.”
“Given the poor level of awareness on campaign finance laws by the public ,we call on INEC and the national orientation agency to pursue a robust public awareness Creation on campaign finance laws and there importance in the democratic process .This is possible through effective partnership with CSOs and media .
Akinkunmi accuses the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) of strategically implementing some programmes funded with public funds during campaign period to canvass votes for the incumbent .
He however said that going by the project findings, the All Progressive Congress (APC) spent #9,740,976,754.00 while the People Democratic Party (PDP) spent #5,379,786,046.00 respectively
He said, “By tracking and determine the market values of mega rallies ,Small rallies,road shows , meetings, billboard advertisement, electronic billboard advertisement, print media advertisement, banners, posters, handbills, radio/TV publicity and adverts,campaign vehicles and vote buying; we found out that ;
“The All Progressive Congress (APC)spent #9,740,976,754.00.
The People Democratic Party (PDP) spent #5,379,786,046.00 respectively.
“We however do not imply that APC conclusively spent more than PDP in the campaign. This can only be determined by other research or investigations that exhaustively deal with all licit and illicit components if campaign expenditures. What we have here presented are simply the estimated expenditure on advert and publicity and other relevant items mentioned earlier during the period if the campaign. Please note that this findings are estimates and not actual as we relied mainly on sampling and data analysis.”
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