Strengthening Political Party Campaign Finance ahead of 2015 General Elections

By TheNigerianVoice-TNV

Abuja, Nigeria - On August 27, 2014, the International Republican Institute (IRI) and Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) organised a roundtable on “Strengthening Political and Campaign Finance: Checks and Balances ahead of Nigeria's 2015 National Elections.” In attendance were representatives of political parties, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and members of the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).

During the roundtable, INEC's National Commissioner, Hon. Col. MK Hammanga (Rtd) presented a keynote entitled 'Campaign Finance Framework for the 2015 general elections and Mr. Jide Ojo provided insight into the Challenges, Opportunities and Strategies of Enhancing Campaign Finance ahead of 2015.

The roundtable provided a platform for political parties to dialogue with stakeholders on the issue on campaign finance and how political parties, INEC and relevant stakeholders can build mechanisms for promoting compliance, enforcement, monitoring and regulation. This discussion will further help develop a comprehensive framework for the effective monitoring of political and campaign finance expenditure, raise public consciousness on campaign finance regulation as an integral part of the country's electoral process and encourage the creation of a multi-stakeholder taskforce that will be responsible for engaging political parties on compliance and the INEC on enforcement and regulation.

In addition, it will help to strengthen the implementation of the enormous legal frameworks regulating campaign finance in Nigeria ahead of the 2015 general elections. According to IRI Country Director, Robina Namusisi, “campaign finance is important to the survival and performance of political parties. She also noted that by creating an environment for effective monitoring, compliance and enforcement of laws regulating campaign finance, it will also “provide a level playing field for all political parties.” In her opening remarks, the Director of CDD, Idayat Hassan said, “there cannot be meaningful democracy without elections, but elections are reduced to meaningless public spending for the highest bidder when the issue of campaign financing is not properly addressed. She, therefore, emphasized that “for meaningful elections in Nigeria to take place, monitoring and enforcement of laws regulating campaign finance must be strengthened and taking seriously.”

Recommendations offered by the participants included establishing a collaboration that includes INEC, civil society organizations, relevant agencies and political parties; enhancing civic and voter education among political parties and the electorate; strengthening internal democracy within political parties; funding of political parties by the federal government; enhancing INEC's ability to investigate and persecute violators and capacity building among political party leaders. The group agreed to continue the discussion ahead of the 2015 election.

The International Republican Institute (IRI)

A nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, IRI advances freedom and democracy worldwide by developing political parties, civic institutions, open elections, democratic governance and the rule of law. The Institute has operated in Nigeria since 1999.

Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD)
The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) was established in the United Kingdom in 1997 and got registered in Lagos - Nigeria in 1999. The purpose of the centre is to mobilize global opinion for democratic development and provide an independent space to reflect critically on the challenges posed to the democratization and development process in West Africa.