From Okwe Obi, Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, yesterday, disclosed that the commission would partner the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (INEC) to checkmate campaign finance by political parties.
“INEC cannot just arbitrarily apply caps on expenditure. Some are covered by the provisions in the Electoral Act. For instance, the cost of nomination forms is provided by law. But in some cases like contribution by any major politician to their parties.
“These are provided by the Electoral Act. Sometimes, it is very difficult to know. It is true that we are working with the EFCC to see what we can do in the area of campaign finance. Voting buying has become a big problem to deal with,” he said at a consultative meeting with heads of media organisations in Abuja.
The electoral umpire dispelled fear that university lecturers would boycott the plebiscite as a result of the ongoing strike by Academic Union of University (ASUU).
“I have never heard university lecturers say they would not participate in the 2023 elections. ASUU has never been involved in elections.
“Remember that they were on strike in 2018 in build up to the 2019 general elections. I had a meeting with with them on the campus of the University of Abuja. As a union they are not involved as collation and returning officers. But if individual members decide to get involved that is their decision. And the position of the union had not changed.”
He said INEC would consider the relocation of election materials from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The decision stemmed from the declaration of interest in next year’s presidential election by CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“The Central Bank is responsible for the storage and movement of sensitive materials. And the experience we have had so far is that there has not been anything to doubt the capacity of the Central Bank to discharge that responsibility.
“But I understand the context in which the question is asked. But you should also understand the context in which events are unfolding.
“As we speak our director, litigation and prosecution is in court. There is a case in court. We have been invited to state our own side of the story.
“We usually refrain from talking about such issues because there are essentially sub judice. But we are already talking about what alternatives are available to us in case we need to change the arrangement for the handling of sensitive materials.
“We have started thinking about it. We are aware of the situation. We will watch the situation. We still have nine months before the next general elections. Things may be addressed before then. I want to assure you that we we will not jeopardise the conduct of the election by creating a misconception situation in the process.”