2023: INEC budgets N305bn for elections

December 21, 2021
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From Fred Itua, Abuja

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC ), on Monday, tabled a budget of N305 billion before the National Assembly as projected expenditure for the 2023 general elections.

It also announced the indefinite suspension of Ekiti East by-election after four unsuccessful attempts.

INEC’s Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, stated this while appearing before  the Senate Committee on Appropriations in Abuja.

The committee had invited INEC to table before it, projected expenditure for the 2023 election for the purpose of capturing it in the 2022 budget billed for passage by both chambers of the National Assembly on Tuesday.

Yakubu said  the N305 billion estimate was  different from the N40 billion yearly budget earmarked  for the electoral body.

“The commission made a submission through the executive being part of the executive body. We made a submission for N305billion  for the 2023 general elections in  a very comprehensive 22-page document with 260 budget lines. In submitting the executive proposal to the National Assembly,  the sum of of N140 billion was made available to INEC as a one line item in the budget, and as usual we broke it down and submitted same to the committee that oversights INEC in both  the House and Senate.

“The N140 billion was broken into two, we take it that N40billion is our regular budget as an agency of government, and N100billion was the first tranche of the 2022 budget and we have gone ahead to make provisions accordingly. For the N40 billion annual budget, including in that are also elections that we are suppose to conduct, particularly off season elections. It may interest the committee to know that we have eight bye-election pending; three federal constituencies and five state constituencies. In fact, the last vacancy occurred only last Wednesday following the death of a member representing Jiwa wWest in Kaduna State.”

In making a case for more releases from the N205billion balance, the INEC chairman highlighted to the lawmakers, the activities that must be carried out ahead of the 2023 general elections.

“What we have done is to look at the activities that we have to conduct before the general election.  There are activities that must be concluded. For instance if you are going to replace some of the critical facilities like ballot boxes, voting cubicles, these things must be done before the election.  Party primaries must be conducted and concluded before the election and names of candidates submitted, registration of voter’s would have to be concluded before the election. Printing of permanent voter’s card would have to be concluded before the election, and then some of the critical election technology for the 2023 general election must be concluded and procured before the election.”

On the Ekiti East by-election, the INEC boss announced its indefinite suspension having tried four times to conduct it without success.

He lamented that in the last attempt , voters were killed while on the queue, while security operatives and electoral officers were attacked at polling units.

“INEC will never reward bad behaviour; the election can only be repeated in June next year during the gubernatorial election,” he said.

Chairman of the committee, Jibrin Barau, said the required appropriation would be made for the electoral body in the 2022 budget in the general interest of Nigerians.

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