The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday rejected N100 billion earmarked by the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning for the conduct of 2023 general elections.
Chairman of INEC, Prof. Yakubu Mahmood, who made this known while defending the commission’s 2022 budget before the Joint National Assembly Panel on INEC, said the N100 billion vote was outside INEC budget for 2022 which is N40 billion.
His words: “The N100bn is the first tranche for the 2023 general elections while N40bn is our normal budget for 2022.N189bn was appropriated for the 2019 general elections. So, it cannot be N100bn only for 2023.
“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.
“Some of the things we needed would require four months, some five months while some would require seven months. We will start early preparations now that we have the money early enough and we will just buy 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.
Mahmood further disclosed that the governorship elections in Osun and Ekiti states will gulp N7 billion.
According to him, N189 billion was spent on 2019 general elections and the number of voters have increased beyond 84 million.
He said: “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.”