Monetization, Insecurity, And Violence Threaten the Integrity Of Nigeria’s February 2023 General Elections

Monetization, Insecurity, And Violence Threaten the Integrity Of Nigeria’s February 2023 General Elections

APC's presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu during election campaigns. (2)

Nigeria Election Campaigns are Characterized by Excessive Spending

The second joint Pre-Election Assessment Report by International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) shines a spotlight on concerns about the continued and pervasive role of money in politics in Nigeria, and the lack of accountability for electoral offenses, including vote buying.

Yiaga Africa’s pre-election report revealed that political parties are already engaging in ongoing vote buying and selling of Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs), an effort to suppress votes or influence electoral outcomes. This is reportedly happening in at least 33 states in Nigeria with the situation more prevalent in Abia, Bauchi, Borno, Delta, Katsina, Kano, Oyo and Sokoto.

Election campaigns in Nigeria are often characterized by leading parties spending substantial amounts of money on campaign publicity, management and voter inducement. In an effort to curb undue monetization of the electoral process and level the playing field, the new Electoral Act 2022 mandates that political parties submit their financial reports to Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at specified intervals.

However, the IRI/NDI pre-election report infers that compliance with the progressive campaign finance provisions in the new Electoral Act, continues to be ignored by parties and not enforced by INEC.

This inference is reinforced by Professor P. I. Ukase, Department of History and International Studies, at Prince Abubakar Audu University who states that studies have shown that in the last 23 years of Nigeria’s democracy, it has been difficult, if not impossible for INEC to monitor or track party funding, campaign finances, and expenses (See Ukase, 2015).

In his interaction with Secrets Known, Prof. Ukase notes that the 2022 Electoral Act has empowered INEC to monitor the activities of political parties (Section 83); limit the contributions to political parties (section 87); monitor election expenses and limitations of election expenses by political parties (Section 88 & 89) and also ensure that political parties disclose their funding sources (section 89).

The Act further prescribes offenses for political parties that fail to provide the requisite information to INEC (Section 85). It remains to be seen whether INEC will be able to track the finances of political parties using the new Electoral Act

Table 1: Maximum Spending Limits of Candidates Vying for various Elective Positions as provided in 2022 Electoral Act

Party Nomination Forms are Going to the Highest Bidder

Commercialization of elective politics starts with the political parties participating in the election campaigns. The political parties are selling their nomination forms to the highest bidder. “The political process is being merchandized as those who would finally be elected may be working to recoup what they spent during electioneering and even proceed to make profit at the detriment of the electorate” notes Prof. Ukase.

Table 2: Cost for the Sale of Nomination Forms by the APC

Table 3: Cost for the Sale of Nomination Forms by the PDP

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