‘Seun Ibukun-Oni, Abuja – In a move to stop vote buying among other issues of campaign financing, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has unveiled plans to halt the illicit flow of funds before and during the 2023 general elections.
Chairman of the Commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, who made this known on Wednesday, said the INEC will collaborate with relevant agencies to track the flow of illicit funds.
Professor Yakubu spoke on Wednesday, at a National Stakeholders Forum on the 2023 General Elections, held at the instance of the Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room (NCSTR), supported by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO).
Yakubu described the repeal and re-enactment of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) into the Electoral Act 2022, as the most progressive legislation in the history of elections in Nigeria.
Speaking on security, campaign finance, technology, and the Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) among other issues, Professor Yakubu said, “perennial insecurity in the country is a source for concern. This existing challenge is compounded by the unfortunate incidents of attacks on campaigns, rallies and processions across all political parties.
“Although the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 and the Commission’s Regulations and Guidelines for Political Parties are clear, the Commission has found it necessary to remind political parties, candidates and their supporters on the provisions of the law and their responsibilities.
“Turning to campaign finance, the Commission is determined to tackle the matter frontally. Areas of violation include party and candidate expenditure beyond what is provided by law and the diabolical practice of vote buying at polling units on Election Day.
“Here again, the Commission will tomorrow, Thursday, 24th November 2022, publish a summary of the guidelines on finances and election expenses of parties and candidates.
“Beyond that, we are mobilising every national institution with the responsibility for tracking and combating the illicit flow of funds as well as the broadcast and print media regulatory agencies to confront the problem head-on. The details of this will be unveiled shortly.
“On technology, the Electoral Act 2022 requires the Commission to deploy technology on Election Day for voter accreditation and the upload of polling unit results to the INEC Result Viewing (IReV) portal. These processes will be achieved through the use of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS). I wish to reassure Nigerians that the BVAS has come to stay as the only means of voter accreditation.
“There will be no incident form on election day. Results from polling units will be uploaded to the IReV portal in real-time. Nigerians will view the results as they are uploaded. For the last two years beginning from August 2020, the Commission has published results direct from polling units in 105 off-cycle Governorship and bye-elections in real-time and the results can still be viewed on the IReV portal.
“The 2023 General Election will not be different. There is no truth in any insinuation to the contrary. This should put to rest the erroneous notion that Nigerians will not have the opportunity to view polling unit results uploaded by Presiding Officers in real-time on Election Day.”
On electoral logistics, he disclosed that arrangements for the movement of personnel and materials to various locations during elections are in top gear as the Commission has signed MoU with service providers including Road Transport Unions and planned to expand the scope to include the marine union for the riverine areas.