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Why We Spend So Much Elections -INEC

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Yakubu, INEC chairman

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said the cost of logistics, highly-secured ballot papers, allowances for personnel, among other reasons, are responsible for the huge funds used in conducting elections in Nigeria.

The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said this while speaking at an interactive session with the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) in Lagos State on Friday.

Yakubu said: “In France, the ballot paper is like an A4 sheet of paper, because it is unthinkable that anybody in France will snatch the ballot paper.

“But here in Nigeria, we print ballots papers in currency quality and we entrust them to Central Bank of Nigeria.

“The ballot papers will now be move with all the protocols and security according to the movement of the national currency, just to protect the process.

“This is not going to be done cheaply. So, we pay for lack of trust in the system.

”The INEC boss further stated that Nigeria’s elections were not the most expensive if the entire cost was spread per head of the voting population, projected to be about 95 million.

Yakubu said the last elections conducted in Ghana, Kenya, and Guinea-Bissau were more expensive if the voters’ population was considered per capita in relation to the cost.

“The cost in Nigeria, I think, is nine dollars per head (N4,500) as against what happens in other countries. Ours is not even the most expensive.

“The cost of elections in Nigeria in 2023 is N305 billion of the national budget of over N17 trillion.

“The cost of elections is just 1.8 per cent, not even up to two per cent of the national budget.

“If we remove the technology cost, 60 per cent of the cost of elections in Nigeria is spent on logistics and personnel allowances,” he said.

The INEC boss added that the commission will engage no fewer than 1.4 million Nigerians for national and state elections, saying ad hoc staff will be paid and transported to their various locations.

On electronic voting, Yakubu said the country was getting closer to achieving it, noting that it involves several processes.

On vote buying, the INEC boss said fighting the menace required the involvement of all stakeholders.

He said the commission had taken some steps to stem the tide and make it difficult.

Yakubu reiterated that the commission was committed to electoral justice, reassuring Nigerians that rigging had been made difficult and impossible ahead of the 2023 general election.

He stated that the commission has started cleaning up of voters register, noting that credible elections start with a credible register of voters.

The INEC chairman said the commission was committed to improving on its delivery of elections.

He, however, stated that the quality of elections is a direct reflection of the quality of the environment.

“An election cannot be better than the environment in which it is conducted, which include the security situation, social, economic, political culture, national infrastructure among others.

“It is simply amazing the way INEC officials get to some villages to conduct elections. Our elections cannot be better than the quality of our infrastructure,” he said.

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