Photo: INEC Logo, culled from INEC website
The ongoing Electoral Act amendment Bill will give the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) power to fix maximum amount of money for election expenses by political candidates. In this article, we will look at how this amendment will strengthen the Nigerian democracy and enhances delivery of good governance.
According to a report published by the NATION, Section 87 subsection 9 of the ongoing Electoral Act amendment Bill provides that “a candidate who knowingly acts in contravention of this section, commits an offense and is liable on conviction to a fine of one per cent of the amount permitted as the limit of campaign expenditure under this Bill or imprisonment for a term not more than 12 months or both.”
Section 87 subsection 7 provides that a certain amount of money (in Naira) has been pegged as maximum amount that each political candidate can spend on an election campaign.
In the ongoing Electoral Act amendment Bill, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is empowered to fix Five Billion Naira (N5,000,000,000.00) as the maximum election campaign fund for a presidential candidate. Also, maximum of One Billion Naira (N1,000,000,000.00) is to be fixed as Governorship election campaign fund for any particular governorship aspirant. One Hundred Million Naira (N100,000,000.00) is to be fixed as maximum campaign expenses for any senatorial candidate while aspirant for the House of Representatives will be expected to spend maximum of Seventy Million Naira (N70,000,000.00) on the election campaign.
State House of Assembly candidates and Chairmanship election are tied to a maximum of Thirty Million Naira (N30,000,000.00) while councillorship election is pegged at the maximum campaign fund of Five Million Naira (N5,000,000.00).
In respect to Section 87 subsection 9 of the ongoing Electoral Act amendment Bill, any presidential candidate who convincingly spend above the maximum amount of Five Billion Naira (N5,000,000,000.00) will pay a fine of Fifty Million Naira (N50,000,000.00), maximum of 12 months imprisonment or both.
Governorship candidate who spends more than the maximum governorship election campaign fund of One Billion Naira (N1,000,000,000.00) will pay a fine of Ten Million Naira (N10,000,000.00), an optional 12 months imprisonment or both.
Any senatorial candidate who violates the maximum senatorial election campaign fund of One Hundred Million Naira (N100,000,000.00) will pay a fine of One Million Naira (N1,000,000.00), maximum of 12 months imprisonment or both. Also, any candidate who is contesting for the House of Representatives and spend above the maximum of Seventy Million Naira (N5,000,000.00) will pay a fine of seven Hundred Thousand Naira (N700,000.00), an optional 12 months imprisonment or both.
Any political candidate contesting into the State House of Assembly or Local Government Chairman and spend above the maximum campaign fund of Thirty Million Naira (N30,000,000.00) will pay a fine of Three Hundred Thousand Naira (N300,000.00), an optional 12 months imprisonment or both.
Also, any councillorship candidate who spend above the maximum campaign fund of Five Million Naira (N5,000,000.00) will pay a fine of Fifty Thousand Naira (N50,000.00), an optional 12 months imprisonment or both.
Interestingly, Section 87 subsection 9 of the ongoing Electoral Act amendment Bill will definitely assist the country in curtailing the menace of “vote buying.” It will be critically impossible for political candidate to buy votes without violating this section of the Electoral Act. It will improve the democratic performance of Nigeria as electorates will be freed to elect their choice of candidate without the influence of money.
In return, Section 87 subsection 9 of the ongoing Electoral Act amendment Bill will improve the delivery of dividends of democracy as candidates contesting for political offices would not have to go indebted in the course of “vote buying” before winning an election.
Content created and supplied by: OmoobaAlekuwodo (via Opera News )
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