Claim: Lawmaker Ado Garba says the law expects an aspiring member of the House of Representatives to have N70 million in hard currency to fund their campaign.
Verdict: False! The Electoral Act only explains the limitation to the amount a political candidate may spend during an election period. For a senatorial candidate, it is N100 million; for a House of Representative candidate, it is N70 million. The Act does not indicate that the money must be in hard currency.
A member of the House of Representatives and Majority Leader representing Doguwa/Tudun Wada Federal Constituency of Kano State, Ado Garba, has said the law allows a lawmaker access to up to N70 million in physical currency for an election campaign.
In a video clip shared on Twitter by onejoblessboy, Garba stated that he is permitted under the law to have access to N70 million in ‘in hard copy’ to organise his election campaign as an aspiring candidate.
“The law has permitted me to have N70 million as logistics for my election funding. I need to have this N70 million in hard copy,” he said. “That is the position of the law”.
Garba added that the “law has provided all we need to oversee our election process” and explained that “you need to pay your agents in the villages, where you do not have ATMs… POS… where absolutely you do not have this new naira.”
The 2022 Electoral Act, Section 88, Sub-section four, clearly provides that campaign expenses for a senatorial or house of representatives candidate should not exceed N100 million and N70 million respectively.
“The maximum amount of election expenses to be incurred by a candidate in respect of Senatorial and House of Representatives seat shall not exceed N100,000,000 and N70,000,000 respectively,” the Act reads.
However, the provision does not mention nor discuss the mode in which the capped capital for the election expenses can and should be wielded.
DUBAWA interviewed a lawyer and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Afri Forecasts, Eluma Asogwua, who explained that the Act only stipulates the amount of money an aspirant may expend for their campaign.
“No person or body corporate shall, except in a transaction through a Financial Institution, make or accept cash payment of a sum exceeding N5,000,000.00 or its equivalent, in the case of an individual; or N10, 000,000.00 or its equivalent, in the case of a body corporate,” Asogwua added, referring to the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act.
Another legal practitioner, a lawyer at Adelante Castle Attorneys, Elizabeth Achile, debunked the claim.
Achile said that although the Electoral Act limits the amount that can be expended in an election, the money is not meant to be spent “using cash at the polling unit.”
She clarified that “electoral expenses” means “expenses incurred by a political party within the period from the date notice is given by the commission to conduct an election up to the polling day in respect of the particular election.”
“The naira policy or cashless policy does not, in any way, affect this because it is not saying that [the person] should bring [N70 million] and share to people [rather] it is saying that this is the money you can spend,” she added.
Achile finally added that the law cautions the amount of money politicians can spend legitimately or even illegitimately “because an audited statement of account will be sent to INEC after the elections to show how much has been spent.”
The claim is false as the electoral act only explains the limitation to the amount a political candidate may spend for an election. It does not suggest that the money should be in hard currency.