The Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) says it has deployed officials to monitor the conduct of presidential election billed for this Saturday, 25 February.
Addressing journalists in Abuja on Thursday, the Chairman of the CCB, Isah Mohammed, said the bureau has a statutory duty to monitor public officers “who are going to participate in the conduct of 2023 general elections.”
Mr Mohammed, a law professor, noted that the special monitoring activity of the polls was in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to bequeath a “legacy of the freest, fairest and credible election ever conducted in the electoral history of this country.”
The CCB is one of Nigeria’s anti-corruption agencies with a mandate to ensure public officers comply with the code of conduct for public officers.
It investigates public officers and their assets declaration to ensure public servants do not engage in corrupt practices.
The agency has the exclusive power to prosecute violators of the code of conduct for public officers, including non-declaration of assets, at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).
Its choice to monitor the elections is a deviation from its core mandates which the agency has paid scant attention to over the years.
The last time the agency is known to have investigated and prosecuted any major case was in 2019 when it brought a former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen, before the CCT.
Infighting among the board of the CCB has also contributed to derailing the agency from playing its core mandates.
Mr Mohammed explained that the monitoring exercise during the election would be carried out in Nigeria’s states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja.
“CCB is deploying its manpower from the headquarters and state offices for observation and monitoring activity during the entire process of the exercise,” he said.
Referencing the Electoral Act and other extant laws, Mr Mohammed, said the monitoring exercise would be executed in accordance with the laws.
He highlighted some of the infractions the monitoring team would be looking out for to include – abuse of power, bribery, acceptance of gifts and conflict of interest.
This is the first time the CCB will be monitoring conduct of elections, Mr Mohammed revealed.
He added that the bureau will be working with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies in discharging the mandate.
Nigeria battles with several electoral malpractices, especially violence and voter inducement, which has gained notoriety in the form of vote buying.
But Mr Buhari had vowed to stop violence and votebuying during the polls – a legacy the hopes to leave behind.
The event had board members and directors of the CCB in attendance.
A member of the board and former member of the House of Representatives, Ehiozuwa Agbonayinma, advised journalists to be professional in their coverage of the elections.
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