The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has stated that there is no particular rule requiring electoral candidates to submit proof of tax payment before running for office in the 2023 general election. ayokinews.com reports
This comes as the commission announced that it will collaborate with anti-corruption agencies to pursue candidates from political parties who possess fake academic certificates.
According to INEC, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other-Related Offences Commission and the Code of Conduct Bureau would be involved in the process.
Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, the chairman of INEC, disclosed this in Abuja on Tuesday at a meeting on partnership for effective tax compliance of political office holders, which was organized at the request of the Joint Tax Board.
The Chief Executive Officers of the Federal Inland Revenue Service and the Code of Conduct Bureau were also present at the meeting.
Speaking at the event, Yukubu stated that candidates found to have submitted fake academic credentials should not only be nullified but also prosecuted in accordance to the law.
“We are already collaborating with the ICPC which is prosecuting candidates who submitted fake or forged academic credentials to INEC, as a result of which elections were nullified by the Election Petition Tribunals,” he said.
“Beyond the nullification of elections, such persons should be prosecuted. And I am happy that the ICPC is handling that responsibility.
“Let me assure you that INEC is in collaboration with the ICPC, Code of Conduct Bureau in our efforts to make Nigeria a better place and to ensure that persons who are elected comply with the laws of the land and are suitably qualified to hold the public trust.
“Nigeria must be a democratic nation for all and not just a plutocracy for a few people, who end up evading taxes.
“So I want to thank you and be rest assured of our willingness to collaborate with you.”
According to Yakubu, there is no specific rule that requires candidates for election to show proof of tax payment before running for political office.
He did, however, guarantee INEC’s commitment to relevant authorities to ensure that public officials followed the country’s constitution and related laws, including tax laws.
“But we understand the importance of this collaboration and we will collaborate with you.
“All candidates for elected offices are required to complete the INEC nomination forms and to swear to an affidavit that they have fully and faithfully provided the requisite information to the commission.
“We will collaborate with sister agencies to provide whatever information you require to facilitate your constitutional roles.
“Leadership comes with enormous responsibilities, at both the executive and legislative levels and persons entrusted with that responsibility must respect the constitution and laws of this country.
“That’s why agencies responsible for ensuring compliance with the constitution and laws of this government just like INEC, have fully supported us,” the INEC boss stated.