How money destroys our elections – INEC
The chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu has decried the negative role of money in elections, saying its deployment destroys the basis of democratic elections.
Yakubu raised this concern at a “Stakeholders’ Summit on Addressing the Influence of Money in the 2023 General Elections” held in Abuja on Monday.
The INEC boss said, “It renders the emergence of the right candidates for positions extremely difficult, undermines fair electoral adjudication, and destroys the professional and independent conduct of INEC officials and other public agencies involved in elections.
“Even more worrisome is the high prospect that criminal money may find its way into our elections through money laundering. Above all, the pernicious use of money tremendously increases the likelihood of election violence due to a ‘win at all costs’ mentality among contestants, who would have invested a fortune in election.
“Surely, election is not a business venture for profit. Instead, it is an application to serve the people with the understanding that they may prefer someone else on one occasion. But then, there would be an opportunity to reapply after four years. Citizens’ choices must never be subverted by the negative use of money,” he said.
Meanwhile, ahead of next year’s general election, the 18 registered political parties in Nigeria have called out the state governors, accusing them of trying to sabotage the electoral process by stifling the opposition in their various states.
Also, a rights lawyer, Mr Femi Falana, SAN, asked security agencies to arrest and prosecute those he claimed are “anti-democratic forces” bent on truncating the 2023 elections.
This came as INEC, security and anti-graft agencies decried the high cost of politics in Nigeria and the ruinous influence of money on the nation’s democracy.
Some of the stakeholders at the event were the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu; Inspector-General of Police, IGP, Usman Baba Alkali; Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, ICPC, Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, SAN; and Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa
Others were Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC; Director-General, Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria, ARCON; Director-General, National Financial Intelligence Unit, NFIU; Chairman Inter-Party Advisory Council, IPAC; INEC National Commissioners; representatives of various security and safety agencies; Chairman, Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria, BON; Chairman Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria, NPAN; President, Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ; representatives of financial institutions and leaders of civil society organisations, CSOs.
Sub-national entities rooting for sabotage
Speaking on behalf of the 18 registered political parties, Chairman of IPAC, Engr. Yabagi Sani, accused state governors of preventing the opposition from selling their manifestos to the state populace.
Sani noted that if money was allowed free rein in the elections, there is no guarantee that elections would be credible, transparent, acceptable, and rancor-free.
He said in the countdown to the 2023 elections, IPAC and a broad spectrum of concerned stakeholders had observed that if urgent and drastic steps were not taken, the elections would not be free, fair, and credible due to the negative influence of money in the electoral process.