As Nigeria draws close to the 2023 general election, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has been called upon to be transparent to Nigerians with its finances.
The Centre for Fiscal Transparency and Integrity Watch, CeFTIW, urged INEC to disclose its finances and that of political parties in the country.
Umar Yakubu, the Executive Director of CeFTIW, made the call during a workshop on electoral financing organized by the centre in Abuja on Thursday.
He lamented that Nigeria currently runs the most expensive electoral process in the world.
According to Umar: “As a country running a literal democracy, one of the things we have to get right is our electoral system. If we don’t get our electoral system right, it means we won’t get the right candidate that would drive our economy and security and ensure all the right things are in place.
“That is why we have to look at the pillar of our democracy which is INEC, to ensure that they publish information that is supposed to be in public and ensure that political parties disclose information that has to do with electoral financing.
“So, what we expect is for INEC to be more transparent with its finances and that of political parties. Nigeria currently runs the most expensive election in the world, and it’s not sustainable. So we want to see how we can bring it down, improve efficiency and ensure that the right people are voted for.
“I believe that INEC is a responsible agency, and based on the electoral act, they are supposed to disclose their own information and that of political parties. I want to believe that as a responsible organization being funded by taxpayers’ money, they would do the right thing. Nobody knows what is INEC budget is.”
The Civil Society Organization, CSO, also launched a portal for revealing the asset declaration of all politicians vying for elective offices in 2023.
“We launched a portal, and as a Civil Society Organization, the best we can do is to advocate for responsible aspirants who want to lead the people from Counsellor to local government Chairman, to Senator, to the president you are supposed to be responsible to the citizen, and part of the responsibility is to be able to tell the people how you source your funds for elections.
“So what the portal entails is for aspirants at all levels to tell the people how they source their funds, that level of transparency will assist and strengthen democracy,” he added.