The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has accused registered political parties, except one, of flouting the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).
The chairman of the commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, who said this on Monday in Abuja at the 2019 election review meeting with leaders of the registered parties, also said that of the 73 presidential candidates that contested the election, only one submitted financial expenses report.
He, however, did not name the party or the presidential candidate that submitted their spending and efforts to get the names were unsuccessful as INEC officials said they could not release it now for “strategic reason”.
Yakubu said INEC has concluded its in-house reviews and yesterday’s meeting with the party leaders marked the beginning of its consultation with stakeholders in fulfilment of its promise to undertake a major national conversation on the future of the nation’s electoral process.
“It is important to remind us that as we review the 2019 general elections in order to identify successes, challenges and the way forward, we should also ask ourselves the extent to which we have complied with the extant laws. I wish to remind you that the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) requires each political party to submit two election expenses reports to the commission.
“First is the disclosure of material contributions received from individuals and corporate bodies three months after the announcement of the results of the general election as provided for in Section 93(4) of the Electoral Act. So far, no political party is in compliance. Secondly, parties are required to submit audited returns of their election expenses within six months after an election as provided for in Section 92(3)[a] of the Electoral Act.
“Although we are still within the time frame provided by law, so far only one party has filed its returns,” he said.
He said the conduct of party primaries and nomination of candidates for the 2019 elections was very acrimonious resulting in a number of court cases on the participation or otherwise of political parties and candidates in elections in many constituencies.
That, he said, made the management of electoral logistics and post-election litigations more challenging to the commission, with over 809 cases challenging the conduct of primaries by political parties in regular courts across the country.
He said the figure was more than the number of petitions challenging the conduct of the main election currently before the election petition tribunals nationwide.
He therefore warned the parties to build their capacities for internal democracy, voter mobilization and financial procedures.