The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is to spend about N11 billion on printing of results sheets and procurement of non-sensitive materials in the 2019 general elections, LEADERSHIP can report.

It was gathered that a total sum of about N4.3billion has been estimated for the printing of results sheets while N6.1billion has also been budgeted for the procurement of non-sensitive materials.

According to INEC’s 2019 election project plan, about N840million has also been voted for procurement of election management materials, forms and equipment which raised the total budget to be spent on printing of results sheets and procurement of non-sensitive materials for the 2019 general elections to about N11 billion.

INEC will conduct elections into 1,558 constituencies across the country starting with Presidential, 109 Senatorial, 360 Federal Constituencies, 991 State Constituencies, and 29 State governorship elections.

The 2019 general election is coinciding with the Area Council Elections in the FCT, which has pushed INEC to prepare for the conduct of 68 elections in the FCT in addition to other constituencies.

Even though the National Assembly is yet to approve the 2019 general elections budget proposal of about N189.8 billion for INEC, political parties are optimistic that the controversy surrounding the issue would soon be resolved.

However, our correspondent gathered that the N4.3 billion budgeted for the printing of results sheets is a cost for seven sets of elections.

It was further gathered that the provisions included arrangements for possible run-off in all in the elections comprising presidential, governorship, senatorial elections, federal constituency elections, and state assembly elections.

The N6.1 billion for the procurement of non-sensitive materials will cover only three categories of elections, LEADERSHIP gathered.

The elections are: presidential; national assembly elections; governorship/ state house of assembly elections and possible run off elections.

It was further gathered that the N840 million budgeted for the procurement of election management materials, forms and equipment would also be spent on publication of results posters, a mandatory instrument for election.

Meanwhile, chairmen of some newly registered political parties have advised INEC to adopt effective use of technology in order to curb huge spending during elections.

The chairman of United Peoples Congress (UPC) Kenneth Ibe-Kalu said that it is the duty of the commission deploy the use of electronic voting in order to cut the huge spending during elections.

“It is the duty of INEC to introduce electronic voting. With electronic voting, how many minutes will it take you to vote? Nigeria should catch up with modernisation,” Ibe-Kalu said.

Reacting to insinuations that the registration of new political parties has increased the amount to be spent on elections, Ibe-Kalu warned againt slashing the number of political parties.

“That will be wrong,” Ibe-Kalu said, referring to calls to cut cost through reduction of political parties.

“That will be totally undemocratic. Who told you that a new party cannot win the presidential election? We are fielding candidates in all the elections,” he said.

Also, the national chairman of Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), Chief Dan Nwanyawu said increase in political parties was planned by INEC adding that they included it in their 2019 budget.

“We can’t restrict Nigerians from registering political parties. It is just for INEC to find out ways of absolving that increase so that it did not affect the integrity of the process. In India, they have almost a thousand political parties,” the ZLP chairman said.