INEC Defends N305bn Budget For 2023 Polls


BY VICTOR BUORO – With eyes on the 2023 general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says N100 billion of the N305 billion budgeted is already in its kitty purse for the polls.

This is as the Electoral umpire assured the nation that the refusal of President Muhammadu Buhari to endorse the Electoral Act (amendment) Bill would not hamper its activities going forward.

The Commission Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, who defended its proposed N305 billion budget before the Senate Committee on Appropriation in Abuja on Monday, said the submission for N305billion for the 2023 general elections was “on the basis of the N100 billion as one line item, N40 billion regular budget, in the 2022 Appropriation Bill, and then, there is the outstanding N205 billion.

“What we have done is to look at the activities that we have to conduct before the general elections. There are activities that must be concluded.

“For instance, if you are going to replace some of the critical facilities like ballot boxes and voting cubicles, these things must be done before the election.”

According to him; “Party primaries must be conducted and concluded before the election and names of candidates submitted, registration of voters would have to be concluded before the election.

“Printing of the permanent voter’s card would have to be concluded before the election and then some of the critical election technology for the 2023 general elections must be concluded and procured before the election.”

The INEC boss, who blamed his inability to defend the budget proposal last week on an official engagement outside the country, thanked the Senate for giving the Commission another opportunity to do so.

“We thank the committee and by extension, the Senate, for all the proactive measures taken, including some of the provisions in the Electoral Act (amendment) Bill, particularly Section 3, which you have strengthened to grant better financial autonomy for the commission.

“I also thank you for the provision in the bill for ensuring that funds are released to the commission, at least, one year to the elections”, Prof Yakubu said.

Similarly, the Commission warned that it “will never reward bad behaviour’’ by conducting a by-election in Ekiti East State Constituency before the June 2023 governorship election given the untoward events of the past.

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