Confronted like never before by the plague of poverty, population explosion, growing polarization and reels of humanitarian crisis, Nigeria has never stood in need as it does today of a level playing ground by which its’ people would elect the best candidates to steer the course of her leadership at all levels as it is proper of a modern democracy.
Elections processes and outcomes marred by all shades of irregularities and malpractices, decades of failed leadership since return to democracy in 1999 compels the ongoing efforts towards the emergence of frameworks, institutions and processes that could facilitate credible elections to produce the required leadership worthy of modern democracy. Poorly regulated in-flow and out-flow of party and campaign finance has remained the vital force of all malpractices such as election violence, gender discrimination, election rigging, ‘godfatherism’, vote buying and all forms of patron-cliental politics. These decades of unchecked malpractices strongly question the efficiency of the legal framework regulating party/campaign financing as well as its enforcement and citizen’s oversight efforts. Unless the influence of money is significantly and consistently checked in the election of leaders, Nigeria would be plunged into complex crisis under poor leadership.
As steps to checking the grave consequences of growing and unchecked bold contravention of laws regulating campaign finance to democracy and development in Nigeria, the Justice Development and Peace Makers Centre in collaboration with the International Federation for Electoral Systems have initiated and embarked upon a well-planned 4-months campaign finance monitoring project of prominent political parties for the November 2019 gubernatorial election of Bayelsa state. It is not unconnected with previous efforts of this partnership in campaign finance monitoring which had already been undertaken in the Osun state gubernatorial election in 2018, the 2019 general election and the Bayelsa state gubernatorial election of November 2019.
This publication shares the processes and findings of the initiative for the November 2019 Bayesla state gubernatorial election with all stakeholders in a timely manner. The aim is to promote multi-stakeholder response which is the pathway out of the critical situation which the protracted incapacity of the legal frameworks, processes and relevant institutions to regulate campaign finance subject democracy and development in Nigeria. To be found in this publication among others include the evolution of strategy, operational mechanism, implementation exercises, conclusions of the project as well as recommendations for the strengthening of party/ campaign finance regulation in Nigeria.
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Rev Fr Peter Akinkunmi
General Coordinator, JDPMC