INEC proposes N305bn for 2023 polls

By Haruna Salami

Senate is set to pass the 2022 budget on Tuesday.The chairman of the committee, Senator Barau Jibrin disclosed this while briefing newsmen after a meeting with the chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof Mahmood Yakubu on Monday.

The INEC boss and his team were at the Senate on the invitation of the committee to get the commission’s needs for the general elections included in the 2022 Appropriation bill.

Jibrin said, “the presentation and consideration of 2022 budget will be tomorrow. We have been waiting for them (INEC) and they have given the detailed information of what they need.

“We are proceeding to put together our report for onward submission to the plenary tomorrow (Tuesday).

“We are presenting it tomorrow and it is going to be considered tomorrow as well by the grace of God”.

Earlier during a session with the Senate committee, Prof Mahmood Yakubu told the lawmakers that INEC would need N305 billion for the conduct of 2023 general elections as well as off-circle elections scheduled for 2022.

Prof. Mahmood noted that the 2022 Appropriation bill had made provision for the sum of N140 billion of which N40 billion is for regular budget of the commission while the remaining N100 billion is for the preparation of the 2023 general elections.

However, he said the N100 billion earmarked in the Appropriation bill was grossly inadequate, hence the need for additional N205 billion.

Justifying the increase, the INEC boss said the commission has eight bye-elections pending, including Ekiti and Osun governorship elections. 

The commission made a submission through the executive, being part of the executive body.

“We made a submission for N305 billion for the 2023 general elections in  a very comprehensive 22 page document with 260 budget lines”, Mahmood said.

“In submitting the executive proposal to the National Assembly,  the sum of N140 billion 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 N140 billion was broken into two, we take it that N40b is our regular budget as an agency of Government and N100b was the first tranche of the 2022 budget and we have gone ahead to make provisions accordingly.

“For the N40 billon annual budget, included in that are also elections that we are supposed to conduct, particularly off-season elections. It may interest the committee to know that we have 8 bye-election pending; three federal constituencies and five state constituencies.

“In fact the last vacancy occurred only last Wednesday following the death of a member representing Giwa west in Kaduna state”, he said.

He also disclosed that there are some activities that must be concluded before the elections, such as buying of machines, voter registration, printing of ballot papers and other sensitive materials, provision for logistics,  payment of ad-hoc staff and cost of litigations.

The INEC  boss also  told the committee that the commission did not make provision for the controversial direct primaries, adding that the commission only made provision for all that is in the Electoral Act as approved.

The electoral body also suspended indefinitely , the Ekiti East  bye-election after four unsuccessful attempts .

The INEC boss said it has been suspended indefinitely having tried four times without success .

He 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 behavior. The election can only be repeated in June next year during the Gubernatorial election “, he stressed.