The Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) stipulates the amount of money political parties and their candidates could spend on electioneering. The Electoral Act pegs the maximum campaign expenses by a presidential candidate of a political party at N1 billion; governorship candidate has a spending limit of N200 million while senatorial and House of Representative candidates are supposed to spend N40 million and N20 million respectively. And for individual or corporate entity contribution, the Act stipulates that not more than N1 million should be donated for a candidate’s campaign.
No candidate is permitted by the Act to receive foreign donation to finance his or her campaign. But INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, told acting EFCC Chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, that this provision of the Act was observed in breach by politicians.
Yakubu, who was speaking when the EFCC Chairman visited INEC headquarters in Abuja yesterday on a courtesy visit, said it is the right of Nigerians to vote for their leaders, which must be upheld by INEC.
“The Electoral Act places limit as to the amount parties and individuals can spend on elections, and also the amount that friends of candidates and parties can contribute in any election. We will like the EFCC, which has both the mandate and the capacity to track and trace sources of fund to work very closely with us so that we can operate within the limit of the law. Our democracy can never be on sale and it must never be on the open market, and I believe that by working very closely with the EFCC, we can achieve that,” Yakubu pleaded.
He also expressed worry on the recent trend of open votes buying at polling stations during elections. According to him, candidates and parties storm polling stations with sacks of money to induce voters. “Votes of citizens should determine who wins in an election. Our democracy must never be on sale at the open market. It is the will of the people that should determine who wins.
In his response, the EFCC Chairman stated that the commission was prepared to work with INEC, and called on the people to register so as to exercise their civic duties during elections. Magu said every Nigerian has the responsibility to join the fight against corruption, describing corruption as a disaster, which has done too much damage to the country. “We are ready to collaborate and work with the INEC. “We are all Nigerians; all of us have equal responsibility in fighting corruption. Corruption is the worst enemy of Nigeria,” he said