The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it will monitor political parties’ compliance with the limits on campaign spending.
Mahmood Yakubu, INEC chairman, spoke on Thursday at the signing of the peace accord by political parties and their candidates.
According to section 88 of the electoral act, the maximum election expenses to be incurred by a candidate at a presidential election shall not exceed N5 billion; governorship elections, N1 billion; senatorial elections, N100 million; and house of representatives, N70 million.
Candidates who fail to comply will be fined one percent of the amount permitted as the limit of campaign expenditure or will be imprisoned for a term not more than 12 months — or both.
Speaking on Thursday, Yakubu said in the next 148 days, political parties, candidates and their supporters are free to traverse the country for meetings, rallies, processions and door-to-door campaigns.
He, however, added that in line with the electoral act, INEC will vigorously monitor compliance to ensure that parties shun abusive, slanderous language and insinuations likely to provoke a breach of the peace during the campaigns.
“Similarly, the commission will also closely monitor compliance with the limits on campaign spending under the electoral act,” he said.
“There are sanctions provided by law. Political parties and candidates should study and familiarise themselves with the electoral legal framework to avoid any infraction of the law and the unhappy consequences that will follow any act of misdemeanour.”
On the signing of the peace accord, the INEC chairman said the step is important considering the connection between peaceful campaigns and peaceful elections.
“The 2023 general election will be conducted for 1,491 constituencies nationwide made up of one presidential constituency, 28 governorship elections, 109 senatorial districts, 360 federal constituencies and 993 state assembly constituencies. Every constituency is important. Every election is important,” he said.
“Therefore, the commitment to peaceful and issue-based electioneering campaign should resonate beyond the 18 party chairmen and presidential candidates present here today. It is not enough to simply sign the peace accord. What is more important is to abide by its letter and spirit. You should similarly pass the message to all your candidates, members and supporters across the country for compliance.”