Some Nigerians asking that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and its donors be probed for violating sections of the Electoral Act, as regards party donations, may not have their wishes met. This is because the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, whose responsibility supposedly is to probe violators have said rather it is the job of security agencies. INEC Director of Voter Education and Publicity, Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, in a Punch report, investigating the alleged violators is within the purview of the police.
In the report, Osaze-Uzzi said, “Before you prosecute, won’t you investigate? Before you prosecute somebody, the person has to be investigated. If a person shoots another man on the street, the police cannot just charge him to court. They will have to follow a process.
“Don’t forget that INEC has no powers to investigate. But it has powers to prosecute. It is the security agencies that investigate. We don’t have investigative powers; but we have prosecutorial powers. If they have investigated and found out that somebody was wrong, we will prosecute that person.
“It is after investigation that we can prosecute. And there must be an evidence that a crime has been committed.”
Asked by the reporter whether a complaint had been lodged on the N21.27 billion donation, he replied: “I can’t say yes or no as of now.”
Quoting an INEC commissioner who it claimed was in Canada, the newspaper reported his comments on the matter:
“I am not aware whether the PDP is under investigation for now. I don’t know and I have not asked. I can find out later or after the holidays.
“Do you know of anybody that spent more money for the party? Do you know anybody who violated the Electoral Act? Are you familiar with the law of donation of money to political parties? If yes, can you tell me one person who has broken that law? Is it a question of whose money or that they have exceeded the limit? Don’t deal with morality, deal with legality.
“There is a limit to what a sitting President can spend. Give me evidence that the President has spent over what he was supposed to have spent. Unofficially, I don’t know if investigation by security agencies is now on because I am out of the country and I have not asked colleagues in relevant departments. There is a process that would be followed.”
In the same vein, the Nigerian Police said no report has been made to it on the controversial donation, many have described as the president’s war chest for next year’s election. Also in the report,
Force Public Relations Officer, Emmanuel Ojukwu, said, “So far, there is no complainant, before us.”