A lawyer, Femi Emodamori, has expressed concerns over the alleged failure of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure the publication of audited financial statements of political parties in Nigeria.
Emodamori, in a letter addressed to the National Chairman of INEC, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, demanded certified true copies of the audited annual financial statements of all political parties.
Citing various constitutional provisions to support his argument, the lawyer said INEC has neglected its crucial responsibility of overseeing and directing the publication of audited accounts of the funds and expenses of political parties.
Pointedly, he referred to Section 225 (1-2) and Paragraph 15(d) of Part 1 of the Third Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), as well as Section 89(3–6) of the Electoral Act.
While issuing a 14-day ultimatum, the lawyer urged INEC to promptly address the situation by publishing the audited accounts of political parties for the year 2022.
The lawyer highlighted the importance of transparency in political financing, emphasising that the publication of audited accounts would promote accountability and help combat corrupt practices within political parties.
According to Emodamori, making financial records accessible to the public would provide voters with valuable insights into the financial activities of political parties, which include information about the sources of their funds and how those funds are allocated and spent.
Emodamori further stressed that the lack of transparency in political financing undermines the democratic process and erodes public trust.
He wrote in the letter: “We must begin to seriously interrogate party financing, patronage, and godfatherism in Nigeria if we are truly serious about fighting corruption and deepening political inclusivity, particularly amongst the youths. I am not and have never been a politician. But the task of building our nation is too serious to be left to politicians alone.
“On this premise, I hereby demand that INEC publish the 2022 audited accounts of all the political parties in Nigeria and/or cause the parties to also publish the same within 14 days upon receipt of this letter.”