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Why Political Parties’ Audited Accounts Haven’t Been Published Since 2016 –INEC

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Indications have emerged that the refusal of political parties to submit to the Independent National Electoral Commission their annual financial statement as required by the constitution and the Electoral Act has prevented the commission from monitoring their finances and publishing the same as mandated by the constitution.

INEC confirmed to Sunday PUNCH that it audited the accounts of the parties up to 2016 and it had gone far on their 2017 and 2018 accounts, whilst awaiting the remaining years.

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INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, said at a meeting with chairmen of political parties in March 2021 that only one political party complied with the constitutional provision, warning that their refusal to comply was in contravention of the law.

Yakubu had said, “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 Section 93(4) of the Electoral Act. So far, no political party is in compliance.

READ ALSO: INEC Announces Deadline For Continuous Voter Registration

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“Secondly, parties are required to submit audited returns of their election expenses within six months after an election as provided for in Section 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.”

A top source in the commission however told our correspondent that the reason INEC had defaulted in publishing the accounts annually, in line with the constitution, was because political parties had refused to comply.

The source said, “The truth of the matter is that the parties have not been complying. I don’t know how many of them have been complying, but the big ones have not. These are our stakeholders and we meet with them, so we don’t want it to appear as if we are dragging them in the media.”

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When asked why the commission did not sanction them for not complying, the source said, “We try to persuade them to do what is expected of them rather than wield the big stick. The current chairman likes to persuade people instead of imposing sanctions all the time. It is only when we try all persuasive means and they don’t change that we apply sanctions, and then they come begging.

“When the chairman comes out to speak like that, it’s a note of warning to them and we expect that they should understand. They don’t have to wait till the commission comes hard on them in that regard.”

Meanwhile, when asked why the commission has not published the parties’ audited accounts for years, violating the constitution that seeks to entrench transparency and accountability in the way the parties are run, the Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi, said, “The commission has audited the accounts of political parties up till 2016 and we have gone far on 2017 and 2018 accounts.

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“However, the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2019 slowed us down. Don’t forget also, the commission deregistered 74 political parties in February 2020 and we now have 18 political parties. However, we have made substantial progress and work on this issue will be completed in due course.”

Section 86 of the Electoral Act mandates every political party to submit its detailed annual statement of account to the commission, which would be audited by the commission and subsequently published in two national newspapers and the commission’s website.

READ ALSO: 2023: INEC Rejects Extension Of Deadline For Party Primaries

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Section 86 (1) states, “Every political party shall submit to the commission a detailed annual statement of assets and liabilities and analysis of its sources of funds and other assets, together with statement of its expenditure including hard and soft copy of its list of members or in such a form as the commission may require.

“(2) Any official of the political party who contravenes subsection (1) commits an offence and is liable to a fine of Nl,000,000 or imprisonment for a term of six months or both. (3) A political party shall grant to any officer authorised in writing by the commission, access to examine the records and audited accounts kept by the political party in accordance with the provisions of this Act and the political party shall give to the officer all such information as may be requested in relation to all contributions received by or on behalf of the party.

“(4) The commission shall publish the report on such examinations and audit in two national newspapers and the commission’s website within 30 days of receipt of the results.”

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Similarly, section 15, under Part I of the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), mandates the commission to “monitor the organisation and operation of the political parties, including their finances,” and “arrange for the annual examination and auditing of the funds and accounts of political parties, and publish a report on such examination and audit for public information.”

Also, Section 225 (1) states, “Every political party shall, at such times and in such manner as the independent National Electoral Commission and publish a statement of its assets and liabilities.” The subsection (2) adds, “Every political party shall submit to the Independent National Electoral Commission a detailed annual statement and analysis of its sources of funds and other assets together with a similar statement of its expenditure in such form as the Commission may require.”

When contacted on the reason for their refusal to submit their detailed accounts annually, some of the major parties did not answer their calls.

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PUNCH.

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Tinubu Ignored Me After Stepping Down For Osinbajo – Aspirant

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A former presidential aspirant of the All Progressives Congress, Dr Nicholas Felix, has raised the alarm that the party’s standard-bearer, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has shut him out of his campaign ahead of the 2023 general election.

The youngest APC aspirant’s outburst came three weeks after the convention held at Eagle Square in Abuja.

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Felix had thrown his weight behind Vice President Yemi Osinbajo after he stepped down at the June 7 presidential primary.

Before he withdrew from the presidential race, Felix described Osinbajo as the ‘best man for the job’, adding that he strongly believed that he could turn the country around positively.

Against his expectation, Tinubu defeated Osinbajo, former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, and 11 other aspirants to clinch the party’s sole presidential ticket.

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“Asiwaju has not reached out to me. Neither has any member of his campaign team. No one has called me. I am about the only candidate Asiwaju has yet to meet. I don’t know the reason. Maybe it was because I stepped down for the vice president or didn’t support the idea of a possible Muslim-Muslim ticket,” he added.

READ ALSO: JUST IN: Tinubu Speaks On Meeting Wike In Francr, PDP Crisis Deepens

The APC presidential flag bearer had left the shores of the country for France on Monday.

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Tinubu departed Nigeria shortly after a closed-door meeting with the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, in the morning.

Although Tinubu’s spokesman, Tunde Rahman, did not state how long the former Lagos State Governor would be away, there were insinuations that his travel must have something to do with the consultation for his running mate.

When contacted, the spokesman of Bola Tinubu Campaign Organisation, Bayo Onanuga, “Unfortunately, we all know Asiwaju is not in town. But Nigerians are aware of how he visited all the aspirants after the primary. Perhaps (he) was not in town. Maybe he was in America or somewhere. I don’t want to join issues with him.

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“If Asiwaju has not reached out to him as he said, I am sure by the time he returns from France, he will cover up whatever gaps exist. I don’t want us to get dragged into that. It is possible that it is even an oversight. As a politician, he doesn’t neglect anybody or sees people as not being important. I am sure it wasn’t a deliberate act or hidden agenda on his part. Everybody is important to him.”

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2023: Why I Have No Regret Working For Abacha – Al-Mustapha

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Presidential candidate of the Action Alliance (AA), Hamza Al-Mustapha, has insisted he does not have any regrets working with late Head of State, Sani Abacha.

Al-Mustapha worked as the Aide-de-Camp (ADC) to the late dictator.

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Abacha was Nigeria’s president from 1993 until his sudden death on June 8, 1998.

Speaking on Channels Television on Friday, Al-Mustapha who was accused of plotting at least four coups from prison, insisted that serving Abacha was part of his job description.

“I have no regrets. When you join the Military, you should be open-minded to work anywhere.

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“You can be in the worst part of the country or world. It is my experience.

“My personal destiny took me to where I served. Wherever I serve, you will see the distinct difference.

READ ALSO: JUST IN: Tinubu Speaks On Meeting Wike In Francr, PDP Crisis Deepens

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“I have done so all my life and career.

“I never canvassed to be posted anywhere. They know what they saw in me and posted me to everywhere they took me. And I gave my life and made sacrifices that are indelible in the history of Military.”

Al-Mustapha won the AA presidential ticket in June ahead of the 2023 general election.

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He won the party’s primary with 506 votes, defeating his only opponent, Samson Odupitan.

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JUST IN: Tinubu Speaks On Meeting Wike In Francr, PDP Crisis Deepens

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Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, did not meet in France.

Tinubu’s spokesperson, Tunde Rahman, made this known on Friday, describing earlier reports as “fake news”.

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This is coming amid reports that Wike shunned the emissaries of the Peoples Democratic Party’s candidate, Atiku Abubakar, in Turkey.

Following the division that rocked the PDP after Atiku’s emergence, there had been reports that Tinubu and Wike over issues concerning the 2023 presidential election in France.

There were also speculations that Wike and some PDP governors are aggrieved over the emergence of the party’s presidential candidate from the north.

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READ ALSO: Wike Receives Kwakwanso In Rivers

It’s time for South to produce president,” one of the aggrieved PDP leaders, Ayodele Fayose, said recently.

Rahman noted that though the APC presidential candidate holds Wike in high esteem, no meeting was held between them in France.

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The statement read, “We have seen a viral social media post made by one of the chieftains of All Progressives Congress in Lagos State and media reports emanating from same about a supposed meeting in France between APC Presidential Standard-bearer, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and His Excellency, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State,” the statement said.

“It has become imperative to set the record straight. Although Asiwaju Tinubu is presently in France, he didn’t have any meeting with Governor Wike whether in that country or anywhere whatsoever.

“This, however, does not detract from the fact that the APC presidential candidate holds Governor Wike in high esteem.

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“And given the national and across-party line’s appeal of Asiwaju Tinubu’s candidature, he will not hesitate to meet any important national leader when desirable.

“As made public earlier, Asiwaju Tinubu is in France for some important engagements. He will return to the country shortly.

“We would like, once again, to advice journalists to always cross-check their information with appropriate officers before rushing to press to avoid unintended errors.”

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READ ALSO: Again, Shell Speaks On Plan To Sell Nigerian Onshore Oil Assets

Wike’s Turkey trip sparks controversy

Wike’s trip to Turkey has sparked more controversy in the party as some of the governor’s loyalists have threatened to leave the PDP.

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Apart from the disagreement on North producing PDP’s next presidential candidate, there is also a crisis over the PDP vice-presidential slot.

Before the debunked report that the Rivers governor met with Tinubu, Wike’s had been seen romancing with some opposition politicians.

The governor had on June 24 hosted the presidential candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party, Rabiu Kwankwaso, in Port Harcourt.

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The visit occurred a day after the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, visited Wike, sparking speculations about their intentions and the Rivers governor’s plans.

Though Wike has refused to speak publicly since he lost the running mate slot to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, his recent meetings with political bigwigs have strengthened speculations that he may leave the PDP.

Wike was initially spotted with Abia State governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, in Turkey. Another picture on Thursday showed the two governors and their Oyo State counterpart, Seyi Makinde, together in Turkey.

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Speaking in an interview with Arise TV on Wednesday, Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, hinted that some governors are unhappy with Atiku.

“Atiku should go to him (Wike). Why won’t he ignore their calls? Is that not an insult? Wike is a pillar in the party.

“Currently, Nobody in the party has contributed more for the party to move forward than Wike. If Atiku was not going to honour the decision of the committee, he should have called Wike earlier and informed him. He didn’t do that. You can’t do things anyhow and expect us to be happy,” Ortom said.

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But Atiku said efforts were being made to resolve the grievances of party members via his official Twitter handle, @Atiku, on Thursday.

“The Peoples Democratic Party will remain united. Focus on our actions. We are taking action to address the feelings of all party members. The unity in our community is my priority. Our resolve to unify Nigeria starts in our party and moves to the community, then on to society.

READ ALSO: 2023 Presidency: Tinubu Jets Out To France

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“Every governor, legislator, and other elected officials produced by our party, and party members and loyalists, are much loved and respected by me. When they speak, I listen. I do not only listen. Appropriate actions have been taken, are being taken, and will continue to be advanced,” he tweeted on Thursday.

 

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