A civil society organization, Centre for Social Justice, has alleged that the two main political parties in Nigeria – Peoples Democratic Party and All Progressives Congress – are violating the provisions of the Electoral Act in campaign funding.
It said the parties have so far expended N4.9 billion on publicity thereby exceeding the ceiling recommended by the Act.
Section 91 (2) of the Electoral Act states that the maximum election expenses to be incurred by a candidate at a presidential election shall be N1 billion while subsection 3 says a governorship candidate shall spend a maximum of N200,000,000.
The Act also says the offenders shall be liable to a fine of N1 million or imprisonment of 12 months or both in the case of a presidential candidate.
The Lead Director of CENSOJ, Eze Onyekpere, said at a press conference on Monday that the two parties which a fielding the two frontline candidates, namely Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari, have spent more than what the Act provided in marketing the candidate.
He said the PDP expended N3.5 billion on publicity between December last year and February this year while the APC spent N1.42 billion during the same period.
According to Mr. Eze, the APC spent N332 million in the newspapers to campaign for Mr. Buhari and another N1.09 billion in other media outlets.
On its part, the PDP spent N1.05 billion in the print media to promote Mr. Jonathan and another N2.5 billion in other media outlets.
“Although, declining oil prices contributed to Nigeria’s deteriorating macro-economic fundamentals, the coincidence of campaign spending and the acceleration of the deterioration brings to the fore the inextricable link between election spending and the health of the economy,” Mr. Eze said.
“With the attention shifted from governance and a lot of expenditure on campaigns, the state of the economy in terms of depreciating exchange rate, inflation and reduced economic growth are bound to occur.”
The CENSOJ Lead Director urged the Independent National Electoral Commission and the security agencies to caution the two major parties.