January 3, 2015
by Dayo Oketola, Fisayo Falodi, Ade Adesomoju and Jesusegun Alagbe
Six weeks to this year’s general elections, the Federal Government has yet to appropriate the remaining N75bn out of the N120bn budgeted for the conduct of the poll by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
This, according to social commentators, lawyers, and other concerned stakeholders is already hampering the INEC’s preparations for the much awaited elections.
Saturday PUNCHlearnt that INEC had estimated that it would need N120bn to prepare for the elections, but only N45bn was appropriated by the Budget Office of the Federation in 2014 budget, leaving a shortfall of N75bn.
The House of Representatives had recently raised concerns over the general elections, saying that adequate funding and security would determine the credibility of the polls.
The House Committee on Electoral Matters said it had resolved to summon the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega, to brief the lawmakers on the preparedness of the commission to conduct the poll.
Chairman of the committee, Mr. Jerry Manwe, in an exclusive interview with one of our correspondents, said while Nigerians expected INEC to conduct credible polls, they were not asking questions about the funding available to the commission and the “disturbing insecurity situation in some parts of the country.”
Manwe said, “We expect a credible, free and fair polls, but this will again depend on funding of INEC and security.
“My committee will summon Jega to brief us on the INEC’s preparation for the elections. Jega has to come and meet with the committee because there are sensitive issues we have to look at, one of them is insecurity.
“Funding and security play a role in the credibility of any election. So, we will have to look at all these with the INEC chairman.”