The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has called for the regulation of campaign finance of Political Parties in the country.
INEC Administrative Secretary in Kwara, Mr Paul Atser, made the call on Wednesday at the opening of a two-day training workshop on campaign finance tracking and reporting for INEC staff.
The zonal workshop was attended by INEC staff in North Central states comprising of Niger, Nasarawa, Benue, Plateau, Kogi, Kwara and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Atser agreed that money and other resources were required for the running of Political Parties and for candidates and aspirants to fund their campaign.
“However, in a society such as ours, there is the need for regulations to be put in place to regulate the undue influence of money in politics,” he said.
This, according to the Administrative Secretary, would prevent the subversion of the will of the people through the use of money.
Atser expressed the concern of the Commission about the overbearing influence of money in politics as exemplified in some recently conducted elections.
“The creation of Campaign Finance Tracking unit in the Department of Election and Party Monitoring (EPM) is part of efforts at tracking this worrisome trend.
“The provisions in this regard in the Constitution, I believe have been well thought of in order for stakeholders to uphold the supremacy of the Constitution,” Atser added.
He said that INEC has been charged by the Constitution to monitor political campaigns and provide rules and regulations which shall govern the conduct of Political Parties.
“The Commission is also charged with the responsibility of monitoring the organisation and activities of political parties, including their finances.
“It is in the light of this that the workshop is significant particularly as it relates to the monitoring of political parties’ finances,” Atser added.
He said campaign finance tracking and reporting would curtail money laundering, provide level playing ground for all parties, and ensure accountability and transparency.
“It will also curtail the use of State resources to unduly support or undermine a particular political actor or party.
“It is therefore a welcome development that the capacity building of staff of the Commission is being embarked upon for the purpose of giving effect to the provisions of the law as is in the Constitution, Electoral Act and guidelines for Political parties,” Atser said.
National Commissioner in Charge of Election and party Monitoring, Prof Antonia Okoosi Simbine, in her address said the Commission did not have enough capacity to carry out the monitoring of campaign finance.
She however said that INEC will collaborate with other agencies of government like the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), ICPC, EFCC and CBN to effectively track campaign finances.
Simbine said that the Constitution provide a limit to campaign fund during election, adding that every elective position has a limit to which they can spend for campaign.
The National Commissioner however expressed the hope that whatever INEC was able to track and report during elections would be forwarded to relevant government agencies and takes the next step in the discharge of their duties.
She noted that there was a lacuna on what should happen to report of campaign finance, adding that it was the responsibility of INEC was to track and report them.