INEC: N100bn Inadequate For 2023 Polls, Plans Supplementary Budget

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INEC: N100bn Inadequate For 2023 Polls, Plans Supplementary Budget
INEC Chairman, Mahmoud Yakubu

Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, said on Friday that the N100bn approved for his agency to conduct the 2023 general elections was grossly inadequate.

He, however, said the electoral umpire was already discussing the possibility of a supplementary budget for the elections.

Yakubu spoke while defending the N140bn INEC 2022 budget before the joint Senate and House of Representatives Committees on INEC and Electoral Matters in Abuja.

The committees had approved N100bn for the conduct of the 2023 polls while N40bn was the 2022 budget of the agency.

Nevertheless, Yakubu said since N189bn was appropriated for the 2019 general elections, INEC would consider the N100bn as the first tranche.

He said, “The N100bn is the first tranche for the 2023 general elections while N40bn is our normal budget for 2022.

“The sum of N189bn was appropriated for the 2019 general elections. So, it cannot be N100bn only for 2023.

“We are already in touch with the Federal Ministry of Finance on the additional requirement for the 2023 general elections.

“It is either we come to the National Assembly to defend the budget before the committee or we would do what we did in 2019 when the executive just submitted the proposal to the National Assembly and we came to defend it.

“We would need more money because we’ve expanded our polling units and we are introducing new technology for elections among many other new innovations.

“The number of registered voters will increase beyond the 84 million for the 2019 general elections.

“Some of the things we would need would be required four months, some five months while some would require seven months (ahead of the time of usage.)

“We will start early preparations by procuring sensitive materials for the election.

“We hired 34,000 vehicles for the 2019 elections so we have plans to also outsource the material distribution in 2023 because we cannot afford the cost of buying such a huge number of vehicles and engage the drivers that would drive them.”

Giving the breakdown of the budget, Yakubu said electoral operational and administrative cost would gulp N23.3bn; election technology (N61.1bn); while electoral capital cost is put at N15.4bn.

He put the electoral operational and recurrent cost (conduct of polls in 2022) at N7.3bn.

Budgets N7bn For Ekiti, Osun Governorship Elections

Yakubu also said the agency had budgeted N7bn for the conduct of the Ekiti and Osun states governorship elections in 2022.

He said, “We also budgeted N7bn for the conduct of Ekiti and Osun governorship elections, including the possibility of runoffs.

“We made a provision of N2.6bn for Ekiti State (election) with a population of over one million registered voters and N4.4bn for Osun with 30 local government areas.”

He told the lawmakers that N4.2bn had been earmarked for the continuous registration exercise in 2,700 centres.

He said monitoring of party congresses and campaign activities would equally cost N619m.

He said, “I am not sure it would be adequate. We are monitoring party congresses and primaries right from the ward levels by direct means.

“We have 8,809 wards and 18 political parties. We have five types of elections (primaries) as well. They are the presidential, senatorial, House of Representatives, governorship and states constituency primaries.

“If they would be done by direct means, we have to make preparations for it. We have 993 state constituencies. So, if parties are going to nominate their candidates we are going to monitor in all the locations.

“There are 109 senatorial districts, 360 House of Representatives and 28 governorship elections because eight are being conducted off-season.

“We will monitor party primaries for the nomination of candidates in over 1, 400 constituencies so the cost would be enormous.”

Cases Against Ondo, Edo Elections Still Pending In Courts

The INEC boss told the members of the committees that there were still several cases in courts instituted against the electoral victories of the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, and his Ondo State counterpart, Rotimi Akeredolu by different parties.

He said, “We have earmarked N2bn for litigation and prosecution (of the cases). This has become a real burden on the commission.

“In the last 27 elections we have conducted, none has been successfully litigated in court including Edo and Ondo states governorship elections.

“There are more litigations arising from the conduct of party primaries”

He added that voter education and enlightenment would cost N1bn around the new polling units just created and our new innovations.

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