Mahmood Yakubu

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has disclosed that the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are among the parties that are yet to submit their audit reports from the last general election.

The two major parties also ran afoul of campaign expenditures as they were said to have exceeded the N1bn ceiling set by the Electoral Act.

But INEC said it had prepared forms that would make the process easier to track expenditures and had also trained auditors from the registered political parties.

The commission’s Director, Elections and Party Monitoring, Aminu Idris, disclosed this on Tuesday in Lagos at the two-day capacity-building workshop for journalists on critical issues in the Electoral Act, 2022 and the Commission’s Processes, Innovations, Preparations for the 2023 General Election.

Idris said only 34 political parties out of the 91 registered parties that participated in the 2019 elections have submitted their audit reports.

Among the 34 however, only nine met the full requirements of submitting audit reports accompanied by an affidavit.

He said, “In the 2019 general election, we tracked election expenses and we have a report of that. In 2023, we will go through this process.

“The commission tracks expenditure for general elections. In the last report we did, we had some figures from the presidential election of the two major parties. We remember that then, the maximum limit was N1bn and what we had based on our tracking across the country was N4.6bn and N3.3bn. What we tracked were about four items namely billboards, print media advertisements, electronic media advertisements and coverage/programmes.”

On the audit report, Idris said, “In the 2019 election based on requirements for auditing reporting, 91 political parties participated and about 34 submitted reports of expenditure.

“But even among the 34, there were issues of compliance with the reports. Out of the 34, only nine fully complied with submitting a report with an affidavit. The commission is already auditing the accounts of political parties over the last five years; 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021.”

When asked if the major parties were part of the 34 that had submitted their audit report, he simply said “In the list of the 34 political parties that submitted audit reports for the 2019 election, the major parties were not among.”

In a related development, the Electoral Institute of INEC gave an estimated breakdown of some of the 1.4 million ad-hoc staff members to be trained ahead of the 2023 general elections.

The institute’s Director-General, Sa’ad Idris, said, “We will train about 17,685 supervising presiding officers; 707,384 presiding officers/assistants presiding officers; 11,083 collation officers; 12,991 registration area technical officers; 20,000 security officers and 6,009 registration area centres managers.”

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