INEC; “Only One Party & One Presidential Candidate Has Submitted 2019 Election Expenses

The 2019 elections have come and gone, but are parties keeping up with the post-election requirements given by the law? Not yet. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has revealed that only one political party has so far submitted its audited report on 2019 general elections expenses, three months after the poll.

INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this while speaking to newsmen in Abuja, as art of the review of the 2019 general elections with political parties. Mr Yakubu also disclosed that only one presidential candidate has so far, submitted his financial expenses for the 2019 elections.

The Electoral Act directs parties to disclose contributions they received from individuals and corporate bodies for the elections, and there was a need for political parties to comply with the Electoral Act, within the specified period.

“It is important to remind us that as we review the 2019 general elections, in order to identify successes, challenges and the way forward, we should also ask ourselves the extent to which we have complied with the extant laws.
“I wish to remind you that the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), requires each political party to submit two election expenses reports to the commission.
“First is the disclosure of material contributions received from individuals and corporate bodies, three months after the announcement of the results of the General Election as provided for in Sec. 93(4) of the Electoral Act.
“So far, no political party is in compliance.
“Secondly, parties are required to submit audited returns of their election expenses, within six months after an election as provided for in Sec. 92(3) (a) of the Electoral Act.
“Although we are still within the time frame provided by law, so far only one party has filed its returns.
“Similarly, the Commission notes that only one presidential candidate has submitted financial expenses report. We wish to remind leaders of political parties of their obligations under the law,” he said.

Mr Yakubu urged political parties to build their capacities for internal democracy, voter mobilization and financial procedures, because they are crucial instruments to our democratic consolidation.
Yakubu also said that the conduct of party primaries and nomination of candidates for 2019 elections was stressful, which has led to many court cases between political parties, candidates etc. And that these was not healthy as it affects the management of electoral logistics and post-election litigation for the Commission.

“At the moment, there are 809 cases challenging the conduct of primaries by political parties in regular courts across the country. This figure is more than the number of petitions challenging the conduct of the main election, currently before the Election Petition Tribunals nationwide’’.

On Bayelsa and Kogi States scheduled for November 16, Mr Yakubu said so far, three political parties had given the commission notices indicating the dates for their primaries.
He insisted that deadline for party primaries remained September 5, and no nomination arising from primaries conducted after the deadline would be accepted.
“So far, three political parties have given us notices indicating the dates for their primaries for both Bayelsa and Kogi Governorship elections. The Commission once again reminds party leaders to do the needful. In doing so, you should indicate not only the dates but also venues and time for the primaries. I urge you to avoid persistent rescheduling of your primaries or late minute change of venue which sometimes disenfranchise your members and make effective monitoring by the Commission difficult. Where political parties opt for direct primaries, there should be proper register of members otherwise it will amount to conducting an election without the voters’ register,’’ he said.

Photo credit; The View Magazine

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