Deji Elumoye in Abuja
Nigeria Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has declared that cashless monetary policy will go a long way to curb illicit election financing in the country.
He submitted that when fully operational, the cashless policy being introduced in Nigeria can help stem the surge of illicit election financing by making it possible to track funds.
Speaking Monday while playing host to a delegation of the European Union Election Observation Mission led by the Chief Observer, Mr. Barry Andrews, who is also a member of the European Parliament at the State House, Abuja, Osinbajo noted that so much money can be spent without it being tracked under the current election financing system in the country.
According to him: “I think that what we should be looking at is to provide more infrastructure. The cashless thing has been really advantageous and helps with tracking. That sort of infrastructure is useful for more financial inclusion and the more financial inclusion you have, the easier it is to track.”
While noting the serious difficulty in controlling election financing because of cash transactions, the Vice President stated that there are still infrastructure issues required to be in place to ensure an efficient cashless system in the country.
He observed that with cash transactions, it is still difficult to seriously control election financing.
On the issue of electoral offences, Osinbajo noted that there is the Electoral Offences Commission Bill at the National Assembly and “we hope that it will begin a new regime of dealing with electoral offences which would be helpful.”
He emphasized that by and large, one shouldn’t expect INEC to be the investigator of electoral offences. I think that law enforcement agencies should be responsible for arresting and prosecuting offenders, State by State.
“Electoral offences are always seen through a political prism; people will always feel that they are being prosecuted because they belong to a certain party.
“What is more important is that we have to find a system where the police could have a special unit for offences during the course of elections. The Federal High Courts could also have a special jurisdiction to deal with offences and not extend beyond the Federal High Courts.”
Commenting on the role of the judicial system, the Vice President noted that more attention should be paid to the monitoring of tribunals and their outcomes, calling for more scrutiny from the National Judicial Council.
He disclosed that there were discussions in the past concerning malfeasance on the part of some judges saying those found guilty should be brought to the fore.
His words: “There should be sanctions and that way, we would be able to clean up and correct some of the problems”.
In his remarks, Mr Andrews mentioned that the Observer Mission would be monitoring the elections coming up next month and hope for a peaceful and fair electoral process.
According to him, this is the seventh time the Independent National Electoral Commission is inviting the EU Mission to monitor the elections, adding that the team has been in the country since 11th January and would be here till the end of March, 2023.
Other members of the delegation include Ambassador, EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ms Samuela Isopi and Deputy Chief Observer, EU Election Observation Mission, Mr Thomas Boserup