Jega: 2011 General Elections Cost N122.9 billion ,No Fresh Voter Registration Exercise



Jega 600The Independent National Electoral Commission,INEC has revealed figures the cost Nigeria’s 2011 general elections. INEC Chairman , Attahiru Jega made these disclosures in a rejoinder by Kayode Idowu, his chief press secretary to an editorial by Lagos-based The Guardian   .
In the rejoinder, Jega revealed that “contrary to lingering speculations, the actual cost of the 2011 elections, including all costs involved in the voter registration exercise, is N66.3 billion for Recurrent Expenditure and N56.6 billion for Expenditure – making a total of N122.9 billion or, if you like, $800.6 million at an exchange rate of N153.5 to $1 which prevailed at the time. (Note: This represented a savings of some N9 billion a total of N131.4 billion that was appropriated, and a far cry from N566.2 billion speculated in the Editorial commentary.)
He noted that “this present Commission came in June 2010 to inherit a voters’ list that no Nigerian wanted kept at whatever cost, and it also had a challenge with the legal timeline that allowed it barely six months to the 2011 General Election. Faced with the national consensus against the existing register and the severe time constraint before the elections, the Commission had to adopt a methodology requiring that Direct Data Capture (DDC) machines be deployed in all the 120, 000 polling units nationwide, plus ten per cent redundancies in the event of breakdowns. That explains the 132, 000 DDC machines procured for the voter registration. There were, of course, additional cost implications with the massive workforce (i.e., 450, 000 ad hoc staff) enlisted to conduct the exercise.
Jega’s media aide  said “If comparison must be made, as the Editorial commentary did, INEC captured the data of 73.5 million eligible voters in barely three weeks; whereas Bangladesh gathered the data for 80 million persons in 11 months, aided by the country’s military. INEC had previously explained the logic of the huge cost of the 2011 exercise, and it bears restating here for accuracy of the records of history. Let me assure you that this Commission is fiscally responsible, and it is for that reason it recently negotiated the sell-off of 78, 000 units of the laptop component of DDC machines it will not need for the CVR to some state governments.
INEC also said in the rejoinder that “there is no plan for any fresh registration exercise and there is certainly no cause for one. Contrary to suggestions by the commentary, the 2011 voter registration exercise was successful and provides a solid basis for this country to finally discard the expensive cycle of massive registration exercises usually undertaken before General Elections in the past. The data of 73.5 million eligible voters gathered in the 2011 exercise is widely adjudged the most credible in this country’s history, and the Commission has ever since been cleaning up and consolidating the data to eliminate cases of duplication or multiple registration.
According to the media aide to Jega “All that INEC plans now is the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) mandated by Section 10 of Electoral Act 2010, as Amended. This procedure, which is a global best practice, allows for regular update of the National Register of Voters with the data of persons freshly turned 18 years; while the records of those are certified as deceased get cleaned out. Incidentally, the electoral laws of this country have always provided for the exercise, but the provision was always observed in the breach until the present Commission came board and resolved to implement it as prescribed. The CVR will be rolled out by INEC nationally in the course of this year and will remain a permanent feature of the country’s political .
He said “INEC is assiduously working and will spare no effort to upscale the integrity of Nigeria’s electoral system beyond the modest achievements in 2011. Already, the Commission is pursuing plans and programmes that will make the 2015 elections the best in Nigeria’s political history. We can confidently say that the future of Nigeria’s electoral system can’ be brighter.

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