Over spending election campaign culprits to be punished

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The INEC Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, insisted on Tuesday in Abuja that the commission would not relent ?its efforts in monitoring campaign expenditure by the political parties and their candidates.

He made the remark at an interaction with political women leaders and youth leaders of all ?the political parties.

Jega said that ?all the structures are being laid to effectively monitor campaign expenditure by candidates and political parties as the 2015 general elections approaches.

According to him, the measures will prevent the destruction of political process and minimise the use of money.

He explained that ?a ceiling has been imposed on candidates’ expenditure during electioneering.

“Regrettably the commission has not been able to monitor it but as we are approaching 2015, we should be able to monitor it effectively and be able to determine if candidates have exceeded the limits or not,? he said.

He said that lack ?of internal democracy in the parties has negative consequences on the nation’s democracy.

Jega said the attitude of party leaders should ?change by showing civility in the way they manage the parties, adding that ?imposing candidates for elective offices should cease.

“If they act as military garrison commanders in their parties ?it can lead to serious problems in strengthening our democracy as ?the imposed ?candidates ?will resort to ?negative tendencies, and neglect good democratic practice,?? he argued.

He stressed the imperativeness of ?engaging ?in issues-based politics, the candidates’ manifestoes and what the electorate ?can hold them accountable for.

Jega charged the youth?s leaders to show decorum in the way they play politics and eschew violence in their participation in electioneering.

The INEC Chairman expressed regret ?that youths are abused in the Nigerian political process.

“How do you explain a situation where candidates will provide drugs, money, arms and negatively direct the energy of the youths in the political process??? he asked.

According to him, the energy of the youths needs to ?be channelled towards positive actions ?such as embarking on ?campaigns on issues rather than personalities.

Reacting to the address, the Acting PDP Women?s Leader, Mrs Oyibo Ahaneku-Nwaneri, ?said the interaction had become necessary ?and timely as the commission needed to check excessive use of money from undisclosed sources.

She noted that the monies coming from undisclosed sources could tie the hands of candidates in exercising their discretion at all times.

Ahaneku-Nwaneri said further there should be ?a ceiling on the amount of ?money a party or its candidate could spend on electioneering.

Also speaking, the Chairman of Inter-Party Advisory Council(IPAC) Dr. Yinusa Tanko, Nigerian politicians should put a stop to excessive spending as a mark of patriotism ?and demonstration of good citizenship.

“As much as we cannot rule out money in politics, it must not be the major issue,” he added.

Many women leaders and youth leaders from various political parties across the Nation attended the ?interactive session with INEC .

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