The majority leader of Nigeria’s House of Representatives, Alhassan Doguwa, has claimed that the electoral law permits a contestant for the House of Representatives seat to possess at least N70 million “in cash” to cover his expenses for the election.
Doguwa, who is also the chairman of House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee on the new naira redesign and naira swap policy made this claim on Thursday, February 16, 2023, after a meeting with Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari at the Aso Rock Villa in Abuja while expressing dissatisfaction over the scarcity of Naira notes.
“Now that the president has issued the directive, how do we ensure that the president’s directive is being carried out on the ground? This is what we came to iron out today,” Doguwa said.
He added: “No matter how professional a policy is, it is counterproductive if it induces suffering on Nigerians.
“A member of the House of Representatives is expected by law to have [no] more than N70 million naira to conduct his elections, logistics, and other things. The law has permitted me to have N70 million as logistics. I need to have this N70 million in hard copy.
“As I speak to you, I don’t have it, which means if this policy continues this way, if the central bank fails to make available this money, we need to fund our elections. Definitely, every candidate, no matter what party he belongs to, will be put at disadvantage.”
The Central Bank of Nigeria has insisted on February 10, 2023 deadline for the use of old naira notes despite the nation’s Supreme Court’s order that it should remain a legal tender.
In his nationwide broadcast on Thursday, President Buhari said while the old N200 note remains legal tender till April 10, 2023, the old N500 and N1,000 notes are redeemable at the CBN or designated cash swap centres.
Electoral law says contestants for House of Reps seat has to possess N70 million in cash.
Checks by the Nigerian Fact-checkers Coalition (NFC) show that the claim is INCORRECT.
To understand the legal requirements related to election expenses, we referred to the Electoral Act, 2022.
Section 88 (4) of the Act states that:
“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.”
However, the law does not stipulate the nature of these expenses or whether it should be in cash.
In addition, we presented Doguwa’s claims to Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, and asked for further clarity:
“The law does not say a House of Representatives candidate must or should have N70,000,000. No. It only states very clearly that they cannot spend more than N70,000,000 on election expenses.
“So, it is not correct for a candidate for the House of Representatives seat to say or insinuate that he or she is expected to have N70,000,000. That’s not what the law says,” Oyekanmi told our fact-checkers.
The claim that the Electoral law says contestants for House of Reps seat has to possess N70 million in cash is INCORRECT; the Electoral Act 2022 only stated that it is the maximum amount allowed to be incurred on election expenses by any federal legislative candidate, and neither did it specifically said it should be in cash.
*This fact-check was researched and written by Nurudeen Akewushola (FactCheckHub) and Rosemary Ajayi (Digital Africa Research Lab), members of the Nigerian Fact-checkers’ Coalition (NFC) and edited by Opeyemi Kehinde (FactCheckHub).