Only one political party has submitted 2019 election’s expenses – INEC

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), says only one political party has so far submitted its audited report on 2019 general elections expenses, three months after the poll.

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INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this on Monday in Abuja, in his remark during the review of the 2019 general elections with political parties.

Yakubu also disclosed that only one presidential candidate has also submitted his financial expenses for the elections.

He said no political parties had complied with section of the Electoral Act directing parties to disclose contributions received from individuals and corporate bodies for the elections.

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He stressed the need for political parties to comply with the Electoral Act within the period specified.

“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 Sec. 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 Sec. 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.

“Similarly, the Commission notes that only one presidential candidate has submitted financial expenses report. We wish to remind leaders of political parties of their obligations under the law,” he said.

Yakubu advised political parties to build their capacities for internal democracy, voter mobilisation and financial procedures, saying effectively run political parties are crucial to our democratic consolidation.

He said conduct of party primaries and nomination of candidates for 2019 elections was acrimonious resulting in a number of court cases on participation or otherwise of political parties and candidates in elections in many constituencies.

This, according to the INEC chairman, made the management of electoral logistics and post-election litigations more challenging to the Commission.

“At the moment, there are 809 cases challenging the conduct of primaries by political parties in regular courts across the country.

“This figure is more than the number of petitions challenging the conduct of the main election currently before the Election Petition Tribunals nationwide’’.

On Bayelsa and Kogi States scheduled for Nov. 16, Yakubu said that so far, three political parties had given the commission notices indicating the dates for their primaries.

He said that deadline for party primaries remained Sept. 5, and no nomination arising from primaries conducted after the deadline would be accepted.

Yakubu advised political parties to ensure that their primaries and nomination of candidates was transparent and democratic in accordance with the provisions of the Electoral Act as well as INEC regulations and guidelines

“So far, three political parties have given us notices indicating the dates for their primaries for both Bayelsa and Kogi Governorship elections.

“The Commission once again reminds party leaders to do the needful. In doing so, you should indicate not only the dates but also venues and time for the primaries.

“I urge you to avoid persistent rescheduling of your primaries or late minute change of venue which sometimes disenfranchise your members and make effective monitoring by the Commission difficult.

“Where political parties opt for direct primaries, there should be proper register of members otherwise it will amount to conducting an election without the voters’ register,’’ he said.

Yakubu disclosed that the commission would before the end of the week announce the date for conduct of bye-election in Pengana State Constituency in Plateau.

He said that the commission in June received the declaration of vacancy from the Speaker of the State House of Assembly following the death of the constituency’s elected member shortly after he was declared winner.

The meeting was attended by national leadership of registered political parties.