INEC’s Uncommon Advice On 2023

Mahmood speaks as if elections were just starting in Nigeria and politicians don’t know a thing about election expenditures. So, he ventured.

We would be left wondering Yakubu’s motive. However, if he brought the issue to national attention, the erudite Professor must have rated it highly important. Maybe, it is one of the success factors of 2023.

According to Yakubu, “Every candidate must be made to declare his bank asset. That is where they draw out their money, so we will make them present their statement of account right from the onset. We will make it mandatory for them to turn in their bank statement so that if they say they are doing billboard and the account remains the same, then there is a problem.”

Can we give a round of applause to INEC for sounding so blasé about a matter robed in more sophistication than the cost of funding billboards? Would this imply that INEC has no idea how funding for elections works? Rather, is INEC advertising its determination to minimise its oversights of the political parties and candidates?

If we stay with INEC’s billboards example, do we expect that there would be no instances where supporters will donate billboards to candidates? INEC still expects that situation to result in movements in the candidates’ bank accounts.

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Things are actually worse than we think, that includes INEC and its handling of elections. What informed INEC’s decision to tip off possible criminals on election expenditures? Could this be a ploy to raise a layer of election professionals with expertise on the ease of scaling INEC financial probes?

Viewed perspectively, INEC is telling candidates to engineer their bank accounts in ways that can withstand INEC’s scrutiny. Why warn them? Is that part of INEC’s brief?

INEC that is unable to manage logistics of getting electoral materials to polling booths on time wants to create further burdens for itself? The requirements of the law are clear. What are INEC’s interests in making them seem new and another item that would be subject to INEC’s interpretations?

Does INEC want to help violators of the law to escape sanctions?

Let us note the laws listed the political parties and candidates as those to be monitored. INEC conveniently left out the political parties in its proposed monitoring of election expenditures. Is there any reason for the lack of interest in the political parties?

What has INEC done since 1999? Why is it now that it remembers the law? The public would not be impressed.

Monitoring of the expenditure of parties and candidates has always been in the Electoral Act. Is INEC pleading guilty of failing to monitor election expenditures? The Electoral Amendment Bill (2020), if passed provides that a presidential candidate can spend a maximum of N5 billion. Would it be enough? It used to be N1 billion. There is more work for INEC.

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A governorship candidate has N1 billion instead of the former N200 million; a senatorial candidate, N100 million as against N40 million, and a candidate for the House of Representatives will henceforth be legally allowed to spend N70 million instead of N30 million in their election spending.

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INEC has only succeeded in asking the parties to find more tunnels for funding. Of all the things INEC imagines are its roles, revealing secrets of its operations to criminals is not one of them.

Finally…
More voices are joining in praising President Muhammadu Buhari to the high heavens for his amazing performances. I still wonder whether they live in Nigeria and where the performances are.

Something more profound is required to make schools safer, particularly now that school owners are being implicated in the lack of safety in schools. Hanifat, Oromoni, and others are on my mind.

Younger people reading justifications in the media for one section of their State, not the other should produce the next Governor, we notice that Nigeria at a point had provinces then divisions. No wonder we remain so divided.

Super Eagles raised our hopes and dashed them at AFCON 2021. We have never been more optimistic more recently. We also remember that President Muhammadu Buhari called them before the lost match. We can blame network challenges – they didn’t understand what the President said.

Zamfara State goes on record as the first State to have a presidential apology for a failed visit. If security is restored in Zamfara, and other troubled parts of Nigeria, it will be a better gift than hundreds of presidential visits.

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Isiguzo is a major commentator on minor issues

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