Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), has called on the presidential candidates of the different political parties in the forthcoming 2023 general elections to present to the general public, their sources of funds for campaigns on regularly basis.
This was disclosed in a terse statement signed by the Deputy Director of SERAP, Kolawole Oluwadare on Saturday, 30th October.
In the statement, Mr. Oluwadare noted that “We are concerned about the vulnerability of political parties to corruption. Disproportionally large donations seeking specific outcomes or preferential treatment can subvert the wider public interest.”
The terse statement read in part: “SERAP would consider appropriate legal actions to hold you and your political party to account for any infractions of the requirements of campaign funding, as provided for by the Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended], the Electoral Act and international standards, even after the 2023 elections.”
“SERAP urges you to sign ‘transparency pacts’ that would mandate you to disclose the identities of donors and widely publish donations and contributions including on your party website and social media platforms.”
“Party corruption undermines the legitimacy of government, public trust and, ultimately, democracy.”
“Opacity in campaign funding can distort the electoral competition and lead to state capture by wealthy politicians and individuals, and encourage politicians to divert public resources for political purposes.”
“Transparency in campaign funding would ensure fair and open elections, and address concerns about undue influence by the more economically advantaged and privileged individuals, as well as prevent corruption of the electoral process.”
“Political parties provide the necessary link between voters and government. No other context is as important to democracy than elections to public office. Nigerians therefore must be informed about the sources of campaign funding of those who seek their votes.”
“SERAP also urges you to urgently invite the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to monitor campaign funding and expenditures by your political party.”
“The UN Convention against Corruption to which Nigeria is a state party obligates states parties to enhance transparency in the funding of candidates for elected public office and, where applicable, the funding of political parties.”
“Similarly, the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption which Nigeria has also ratified requires states parties to incorporate the principle of transparency into funding of political parties.”
“Sections 225 and 226 of the Nigerian Constitution and Sections 86, 87 and 90 the Electoral Act 2022 demonstrate the importance of transparency and accountability in party and campaign finances, and why political parties must be proactive in disclosing the sources of their donations and contributions, and how they spend the funds they receive.”
“Please let us know if you and your political party are willing to commit to the issues outlined in this letter.”