Members of the Coalition of civil society organisations (Joinbodi) at the presentation of reassessment report on political accountability. Photo: Julian Osamoto/Radio Nigeria
A coalition of civil society organizations (Joinbodi) is demanding accountability from political gladiators to check vote trading during elections and strengthen democratic system.
The Joinbodi group which comprises of over 17 CSOs such as CITAD, Budgit, CODE and WRAPA, maintained that Nigerians have witnessed the highest cases of election malpractices and vote trading in recent times, which they said must be checked for the country to be fully developed.
The coalition stated this at an event organised by Women’s Right Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA) and other partners In Abuja aimed at disseminating a reassessment report on political accountability and the 2023 general election.
In a keynote speech a former commissioner, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Okey Ibeano, while explaining how political accountability has gained global recognition due to several awareness by developing countries, urged politicians to always fulfill their manifestoes.
He stated that political office holders must be responsible and responsive to the needs of the citizen’s as this determines their re-election into office.
Earlier in her opening remarks, Secretary General, Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternatives (WRAPA) Sudatu Mahdi said the report was undertaken to serve as a guide for the incoming administration to know what is expected of them and to know what Nigerians do not want to see in terms of accountability in elections.
Key findings of the report
The report as presented by Mr Francis Onahor Program Manager Community Life Project, revealed that the Electoral Act 2022 and the previous Electoral Act 2010 requires political parties to submit their annual reports of assets, liabilities and election expenses report.
In his word “But most political parties did not submit the reports in 2019 and major parties like APC and PDP expended at least three times more than the law permits and no punitive measures were taken”.
speaking on vote buying, Mr Francis disclosed that the report shows that the issue of vote buying is most prevalent in the North Central with 83%, North East, South East and South West at 80% respectively, while North West indicates 78% and South South with 77% Prevalence.
The report proposed that political parties should submit their financial reports regularly indicating their donations and expenditures, and minimise spending on campaign as this would reduce the tendencies to engage in corrupt practices.
It tasked the governments to establish an Electoral offence commission to investigate, prosecute and punish Electoral offenders in political financing and vote buying amongst other offences.
While CSOs must partner with INEC to monitor political financing and report violations to appropriate authorities.
Reporting by Julian Osamoto; Editing by Oluwaseyi Ajibade