In preparation for the 2023 general elections, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, has reportedly stated on Friday that the N100bn approved for his agency to conduct the 2023 general elections was grossly inadequate.
Yakubu reportedly made this known while defending the N140bn INEC 2022 budget before the joint Senate and House of Representatives Committees on INEC and Electoral Matters in Abuja.
According to reports, the committees had approved N100bn for the conduct of the 2023 polls while N40bn was the 2022 budget of the agency.
Yakubu however stated that, “The N100bn is the first tranche for the 2023 general elections while N40bn is our normal budget for 2022. The sum of N189bn was appropriated for the 2019 general elections. So, it cannot be N100bn only for 2023.”
He noted that, “We are already in touch with the Federal Ministry of Finance on the additional requirement for the 2023 general. It is 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.”
He added that, “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.”
Yakubu maintained that, “We will start early preparations by procuring sensitive materials for the election. We hired 34,000 vehicles for the 2019 elections so we have plans to also outsource the material distribution in 2023 because we cannot afford the cost of buying such a huge number of vehicles and engage the drivers that would drive them.”
He disclosed that, “We also budgeted N7bn for the conduct of Ekiti and Osun governorship elections, including the possibility of runoffs. We made a provision of N2.6bn for Ekiti State (election) with a population of over one million registered voters and N4.4bn for Osun with 30 local government areas.”
He continued that, “N4.2bn had been earmarked for the continuous registration exercise in 2,700 centres, monitoring of party congresses and campaign activities would equally cost N619m.”
He restated that, “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 five types of elections (primaries) as well. They are the presidential, senatorial, House of Representatives, governorship 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 all the locations. There are 109 senatorial districts, 360 House of Representatives and 28 governorship elections because eight are being conducted off-season,” Yakubu noted.
He added that, “We will monitor party primaries for the nomination of candidates in over 1, 400 constituencies so the cost would be enormous.”