The Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu, has said the N100 billion earmarked for the conduct of 2023 General Elections in next year’s budget estimates is grossly inadequate.
Yakubu stated this, on Friday, when he appeared before the Senate Committee on INEC to defend the commission’s 2022 budget estimates.
He said while N189bn was appropriated for the 2019 General Elections, that of the 2023 could not be N100bn only.
According to him, the N100bn was the first tranche for the 2023 general elections while N40bn was the commission’s annual budgetary allocation.
He said, “We are already in touch with the Federal Ministry of Finance on the additional requirements for the 2023 general elections.
“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.”
Giving a breakdown of proposed expenditure for upcoming elections, the INEC boss said the commission has earmarked N7.3bn for the procurement of none sensitive materials and logistics.
“We also budgeted N7bn for the conduct of Ekiti and Osun governorship election including the possibility of runoffs.”
“We made a provision of N2.6bn for Ekiti State with a population of over one million registered voters and N4.4bn for Osun with 30 local government areas.
“We are earmarking N4.2bn for the continuous registration exercise in 2,700 centres and N619m for monitoring of party congresses and campaign activities.
“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 types of elections. Presidential, Senatorial, House of Representatives, 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 — 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.
“We have earmarked N2bn for litigation and prosecution. 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,” Yakubu said.