…tracks campaign financing by 91 political parties in 2019
By Soni Daniel, Northern Region Editor
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has moved in its investigators to track and arrest for prosecution politicians and their agents planning to lure voters with money to win the Osun State Governorship election slated for tomorrow.
The commission, which made the announcement in a statement it sent to Saturday Vanguard on Friday, also said that it had begun mobilisation of its resources to identify the sources of campaign funding by the 91 political parties to field candidates in the 2019 general elections.
The purpose is to identify the culprits and prosecute them for the first time in the history of Nigeria’s political funding, which has become grounded in fraudulent practices especially vote-buying in recent times.
The commission revealed that as part of its proactive efforts in securing the integrity of the electoral process and prevent the exercise from being used as avenue for money laundering, it had already launched massive, but discreet, surveillance of the financial flows of all the actors in the various political parties. The tracking process which is ongoing will continue till all the scheduled elections are concluded
The statement by EFCC said, “As preparations for the 2019 general election enters the home stretch, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission restates its determination to stamp out corruption in the electoral process to ensure that the will of the people is not subverted through financial inducement by desperate politicians.
“To this end, and starting from the governorship election in Osun State this weekend, the Commission has fully mobilized its investigative resources in a proactive move to stem the incidence of vote buying and other financial inducements that had bedevilled the nation’s electoral process.
“Specifically, the Commission expresses its resolve to monitor campaign financing by political parties, while calling on aspirants to elective offices to apprise themselves of the provisions of the Electoral Act on campaign financing as anything done outside the law would be considered as corrupt practices and dealt with accordingly.
“The audacious move by the Commission, according to its acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, is part of a collaborative initiative that will see the EFCC join forces with other law enforcement organizations in the country to enforce the provisions of the Electoral Act which criminalizes financial inducement by political parties and their candidates during electoral campaigns and at polling centres on election day.
“We will be working with all stakeholders especially from the security and intelligence community to stop the practice of vote buying and other financial malpractices that undermine the integrity of our elections. It is important to state here that those who offer bribes for votes are as guilty as those who receive such gratifications. My candid advice to the electorates is to be vigilant and resist the temptation to sell their votes.
“After the widely acclaimed peaceful transfer of power from a sitting president, who was the candidate of the then ruling party, to the candidate of the opposition party in 2015, the 2019 general election offers Nigeria the opportunity to deepen her emerging democratic culture that is free and participatory. We must guard this process by shunning all forms of electoral malpractices,” Magu said.
The EFCC advised Nigerian voters to be vigilant in the exercise of their franchise, by resisting monetary inducement for votes as those who dangle such carrots cannot be trusted to protect their interest once in power.