President Muhammadu Buhari has urged Nigerian politicians and other African leaders to do all they can to stop excessive electoral spending in order to curb corruption.
Since his assumption of office as president, Buhari and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) have been accused of spending billions of naira to win elections.
The President and his party have not been able to make public to Nigerians their electoral spending.
There was evidence of commercializing the electoral process when vouchers and credit cards were freely shared at the national assembly complex to get lawmakers to vote for the APC-anointed Femi Gbajabiamila to emerge as the speaker of the House of Representatives.
Buhari spoke at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) summit in Abuja, on Tuesday.
He appreciated President Paul Kagame of Rwanda for his “enduring personal commitment towards collaborating with the federal government in addressing issues of corruption”.
Speaking on the theme “Curbing electoral spending, a panacea for public corruption”, the president noted that corruption has dire consequences on the Africa continent and urged African leaders, security agencies and the judiciary to come together to fight corruption.
Buhari said corrupt electoral spending manifest in different forms and approaches to curb it should also come in different ways in order to “de-commercialize the political process so that true democracy can survive and thrive”.
“This topic is most appropriate in light of our most recent and past political experiences as Africa as a whole. The recent political experiences are being characterized by the corrupting influence of money on electioneering practices,” Buhari said.
“This unwholesome practice has dire consequences on our nations in subverting the exercise of free choice by voters, elevate corrupt and unprincipled individuals to positions of authority and entrenching the structures of democracy devoid of accountability.
“Of course we have sufficient legal framework in place in Nigeria to combat reckless electoral spending the provision of section 90 of the electoral act 2010, as amended, explicitly put a cap on the amount candidates of different political parties must expend, failing which they are violating the law.
“Of greater significance is the provision of section 88 of the act which prohibits a political in Nigeria from possessing any fund outside, or retaining funds or other assets remitted to it outside Nigeria. The philosophical underpinning of all provisions of the act is to prevent desperate politicians from buying their ways into political offices at the expense of low-spending, law-abiding individuals.
“I urge all law enforcement agencies and the judiciary in Nigeria and across Africa to tackle financial corruption in our political system.
“Uncontrolled electoral spending and voter inducement by politicians must be combatted if we want to consolidate true democracy and good governance.”
Buhari also reiterated his commitment to his campaign promises, noting that his administration is taking stock of progress made so far against corruption and assessing what is needed to be done in fighting it.