The National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, and the National Organising Secretaries of various Political Parties on Wednesday urged electorate and politicians to shun vote buying in the forthcoming elections.
They also called for the regulation of money spending in election process at the Capacity Building Workshop for Political Party Leaders organised in Abuja by NIPSS, titled “Regulations on Campaign Spending.’’
Mr Jonathan Juma, Acting Director General, NIPSS, called for the regulation of the money that was being spent on election processes and that vote buying should be discouraged.
He said that vote buying was the function of absence of ideology in political parties.
Juma explained that if political parties were focused on ideology, they would mobilise their members and citizens based on what they were able to offer, stating that vote buying was a major hindrance to national development.
He said that NIPSS was committed to finding a way of stopping the high monetary level involved in the country’s election.
He urged the national organising secretaries to work with the existing regulations to ensure their parties emerged successful in the election, adding that they were the engine room of the political parties.
“It is important that there is a regulation in the electoral act that deals with campaign spending and that’s why we decided to enlighten all the relevant officials from all the parties to take a look at these regulations.
“So that they get to appreciate what it represents so that all of them will comply with the provisions of the law because ignorance is not an excuse in law.
“This will help reduce the influence of money in campaigns particularly in light of the 2019 elections, because he who plays the piper dictates the tune.
“If political parties accept money from a money bag, he will determine the direction of the party rather than the electorate.
“We must begin to focus our attention on the generality of the citizens rather than the individuals to promote development,’’ Juma said.
Also, Mr Peter Ameh, National Chairman, Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), said that the high level of money involved in election process would hinder credible candidates from being in power.
The IPAC Chairman said that if politicians kept spending their personal money in election process, their aim would be to recoup the money spent immediately they were elected into office.
He said that this high spending must be stopped and properly regulated to manage elections and stop vote buying and inducement of voters so that the best hands could be in government.
Ameh said that people who buy votes should be tried and punished, stating that presently there was gap between what the law wants and what the enforcement agencies should do.
He added that the new electoral act passed by the national assembly would properly address the issue so that private money does not go into election process.
“In civilised countries people do donations for election processes,’’ Ameh said.
Prof. Habu Galadima, Chief Operating Officer, NIPSS-Political Leadership and Policy Development Centre (PPLPDC), noted that in every election politicians have to spend but this expenditure must be regulated by the law.
He added that election and electioneering was very expensive but there has to be some limits to campaign spending.
Galadima said that there were laws regulating campaign spending depending on the office being vied for and the political parties have to be enlightened on these laws.
He said that the quantum of money that was spent on the recent primaries was quite heavy and if this was not stopped corruption would continue to thrive in Nigeria.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the political parties, who were in attendance were Labour Party, National Interest Party (NIP), Progressives People’s Alliance (PPA), Action Alliance (AA), Hope Democratic Party, Liberation Movement among others.
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