The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has tabled before the National Assembly a request for N305billion as its projected expenditure for the 2023 general elections.
Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, made the presentation before the Senate Committee on Appropriations on Monday in Abuja.
The committee had in view of the 2023 general elections invited the INEC chairman to come and table before it, projected expenditure for the 2023 elections, for the purpose of capturing it in the proposed 2022 budget billed for passage by both chambers of the National Assembly Tuesday this week.
According to INEC chairman, the N305billion estimate is different from N40billion yearly budget of the electoral body.
He said though N100billion had been given the Commission out of the total projected expenses but the amount would not be enough for adequate preparation.
“The commission made a submission through the executive being part of the executive body. We made a submission for N305bn 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 N140bn 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 the Senate.
“The N140bn was broken into two, we take it that N40b is our regular (annual) budget as an agency of government and N100bn was the first tranche of the 2022 budget and we have gone ahead to make provisions accordingly.
“For the N40bn annual budget including in there are also elections that we are supposed to conduct particularly off-season elections. It may interest the committee to know that we have eight bye-elections pending – three federal constituencies and five state constituencies. Infact the last vacancy occured only last Wednesday following the death of a member representing Giwa West in Kaduna State,” he said.
In making case for more releases from the outstanding N205bn balance, Prof Yakubu informed the lawmakers about 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 elections.
“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 elections and names of candidates submitted, registration of voters would have to be concluded before the election. Printing of the permanent voter’s card would have to be concluded before the elections and then some of the critical election technology for the 2023 general election must be concluded and procured before the elections,” he explained.
Meanwhile, the electoral umpire has suspended indefinitely, the Ekiti East bye-election after four unsuccessful attempts.
The INEC boss lamented that in the last attempt, voters were killed on the queue as well as security operatives and electoral officers at polling units.
“INEC will never reward bad behaviour. The election can only be repeated in June next year during the gubernatorial election,” Yakubu stated.
In his remarks, the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Jibrin Barau (APC, Kano North), said the necessary appropriation would be made for the electoral body in the 2022 budget in the general interest of Nigerians.
He assured journalists after the session that report of his committee on 2022 budget proposals will be laid at both Senate and House of Representatives’ plenaries at both on Tuesday for consideration and eventual passage.