2015 elections to gulp N92.9b – INEC

By The Citizen

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Monday projected about N92.9 billion expenditure for the 2015 general elections.

Prof. Attahiru Jega, the chairman of the commission announced the budget at a stakeholders' forum on the preparation and challenges ahead of the 2015 general elections, organised by the Senate Committee on INEC.

Jega added that the commission projected to spend 7.9 dollars (about N1,264) per voter and a total of 73.5 million voters.

He said there was a reduction of 1 dollar (N160) for the 2015 estimates compared to the 8.8 dollars (N1,478) projected for the 2011 election.

He the commission was anxious about getting all its funding requirements met in advance of the 2015 general elections.

He added the INEC was looking at the possibility of holding the 2015 elections between January February to allow ample time to sort out litigations.

He also said the elections would not be conducted in states that were under emergency rule in order not to contravene the law.

“We are working very closely with security agencies and our hope is that the security challenges in these areas will be addressed before the 2015 elections.

“We hope that these challenges will we solve or dramatically reduce before 2015.What is clear is that, we cannot conduct elections under a period of emergency.

“If there is generalised insecurity, how can we hold elections? .It will be disrupted or people will not come out. Ideally, elections should not hold under a period of emergency,” Jega said.

Jega, who noted that security was a systemic challenge, stressed that the commission was working hand in hand with security agencies toward adequate security in 2015.

He added that preparations for the 2015 general elections were on top gear and proceeding in earnest.

The INEC boss said it had so far prosecuted 200 electoral offenders.

“If you compare 200 successful prosecutions with the large number of electoral offenders, it is just a drop in the ocean.

“INEC does not have the capacity to handle a large number. We have been working with the NBA to get accelerated persecution of electoral offenders.

“We hope to persecute more before the 2015 elections. The largest number of offenders we have is with regards to multiple registrations.”

A Director with the National Youth Service Corps, (NYSC), Mrs Mary Dan-Abia in her comments, stressed the need for adequate protection for corps members who would be engaged by the commission for the elections.

“Corps members are only ad hoc, they are not INEC staff since this is a national assignment, and they are usually very enthusiastic about the job.

“However, politicians,┬áINEC staff and members of the public tend to be antagonistic toward them to the point that they are abducted on their way to the polling unit and assaulted.

“We wish that everybody should be aware that they are doing a national assignment and so should not be looked at as enemies,” she said.

Dan-Abia appealed to security personnel to pay particular attention to protecting corps members before during and after election.

Chairman, All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Mr Victor Umeh, advocated that N25 billion be appropriated to the 25 remaining political parties to encourage more serious parties to perform better.

Umeh described the allegations that APGA was given N8 billion by the presidency for the Nov. 16, Anambra governorship polls as baseless and unfounded adding that there was no iota of truth in it.

Earlier, Chairman of the committee, Sen. Andy Ubah (PDP-Anambra) said that it was important to address any lapses that Might be observed, to strengthen the election management body for optimal performance in 2015.

“The 2015 general elections will be important for Nigeria, the sub-region and the rest of the international community.

“The burden of delivering on successful elections lay squarely on our shoulders”.