By Chinedu Adonu
EUROPEAN Centre for Electoral Support (ECES), yesterday condemned the excessive and improper deployment of money in elections in Nigeria, saying it causes mismanagement of state funds.
“Excessive and improper deployment of money before, during and after elections distort the essence of democracy as government of the people, by the people and for the people,” the Project co-ordinator of ECES, Mr Rudolf Elbling, said.
Elbling said this in Enugu at the training workshop of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for Election and Party Monitoring Department (EPM) staff on campaign finance.
He said that the negative trend compromises the freedom of the people to exercise their choices in elections.
According to him, the manner in which political parties carry out their activities especially in the areas of campaign finance has implications for the transparency and integrity of the electoral system.
“It is my hope that deliberations and knowledge to be gained by participants at the workshop will strengthen INEC’s capacity to effectively monitor the activities of political parties.
“It will also enthrone healthy campaign finance practices and entrench internal democracy among the parties.
“It is also ECES’s expectation that the outcome of the workshop will provide feasible solutions to the emerging threat of vote-buying and selling which have been observed in the recent off-cycle governorship elections,” he said.
In an address, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Enugu State, Dr Emeka Ononamadu said that it was no longer business as usual as INEC and by extension, the government was serious on monitoring election finances of both candidates and their parties.
“We expect nothing less from you rather than doing a diligent job on monitoring these spending.
“We all are Nigerians, it is our country and people; so we have a responsibility to get it right and see that the right things are done.
“We should be part and parcel of building credible and fair elections, which will enshrine peace and development in the country,” Ononamadu said.
Over 100 INEC’s EPM staff from 17 states in the southern part of the country attended the workshop.