2023: TMG warns against using state resources for political campaigns

edddc rafsanjani
edddc rafsanjani

From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

The Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), has warned against using state resources by public office holders for campaigns and other political party activities.

This is even as it has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the police, and anti-corruption agencies to spotlight the huge exchange of money at party conventions.

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In a statement by the TMG Chairman, Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, the group warned that the use of taxpayers’ funds and collective resources of Nigerians to fund personal political ambition is totally unacceptable.

The group said: “We are living witnesses to how ministers and other top public office holders use state apparatus such as government jets, public cars as well as funds to run their personal ambitions which wrongfully does not create a level playing ground and is a bad omen for our democracy.”

Rafsanjani, who doubles as the Executive Director of Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC, noted that the move by 2023 aspirant-cum-public officers is shocking and alarming, saying that even with the enormous challenges facing the country at this moment, they still have the audacity to run for offices with scarce state resources.

He decried the exorbitant amount of money being demanded for the nomination and expression of interest forms to contest in party primaries, saying that such amounts could only be afforded by people with access to corrupt funds and those with plans to recoup their wealth when elected into public office will be able to purchase it.

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Speaking more on the need to spotlight the huge exchange of money at party conventions, Rafsanjani urged that the relevant anti-graft agencies should monitor the way aspirants bribe delegates with various sums of money stating that the quantum of resources doled out by aspirants usually in international currencies like the United States dollar has depicted that the highest bidder usually wins elections.

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He advised INEC to ensure that parties submit their audit reports as required.

Similarly, he charged political appointees and other public servants aiming for elective positions to tender their resignation noting that political appointees are mandated to resign their appointments as conditions to contest the forthcoming election in adherence to Section 84, of the electoral Act recently signed into law.

He said: “A lot of public government officials make a public declaration of their intentions to contest elections and are still holding on to their positions which is against Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act 2022 as amended.

“To this end, in compliance with the provision, all political appointees, and other public servants serving in government aspiring for political offices should submit their resignation letters and run their campaigns legally as this will not be condoned by Nigerians.”

Rafsanjani also disclosed that the TMG and its members would vigorously observe the conduct of the primary elections and make sure that there is adequate compliance with the electoral law to ensure that there is electoral transparency in the country.