Cashless Policy Will Curb Illicit Election Financing – Osinbajo
The Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo, says the cashless policy, when effectively operated in Nigeria, can help stem the surge of illicit election financing.
He stated this on Monday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, when he received a delegation of the European Union Election Observation Mission led by Mr Barry Andrews, the Chief Observer, who is also a member of the European Parliament.
In a statement by Laolu Akande, his spokesperson, Osinbajo reasoned that an effective cashless policy will make it easy to track funds and will be useful for financial inclusion.
“I think that what we should be looking at is to provide more infrastructures,” he said.
“The cashless thing has been really advantageous and helps with tracking.
“That sort of infrastructure is useful for more financial inclusion and the more financial inclusion you have, the easier it is to track.
“So much money can be spent without it being tracked under the current election financing practices in the country.’’
Further speaking, Osinbajo highlighted the difficulty in controlling election financing because of cash transactions.
He said there are still infrastructural issues required to be in place to ensure an efficient cashless system in the country.
“With cash transactions, it is still difficult to seriously control election financing,” he added.
On electoral crime, he said the electoral offences commission bill is already at the national assembly.
Osinbajo expressed hope that it would begin a new regime of dealing with electoral offences which would be helpful.
“By and large, one shouldn’t expect INEC to be the investigator of electoral offences,” the politician said.
“I think that law enforcement agencies should be responsible for arresting and prosecuting offenders, state by state.
“Electoral offences are always seen through a political prism; people will always feel that they are being prosecuted because they belong to a certain party.
“What is more important is that we have to find a system where the police could have a special unit for offences during the course of elections.
“The federal high courts could also have a special jurisdiction to deal with offences and not extend beyond the federal high courts.”
Also commenting on the role of the judicial system, Osinbajo said more attention should be paid to the monitoring of tribunals and their outcomes.
In addition, he called for more scrutiny from the national judicial council.
“There should be sanctions and that way, we would be able to clean up and correct some of the problems,’’ he said.
On his part, Andrews said the mission would be monitoring the coming elections and hoping for a peaceful and fair electoral process.
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