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HOPE RISES ON NEW VOTER REGISTER AS PRESIDENCY, INEC MEET

By NBF News

Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega

Indications emerged on Monday that the Independent National Electoral Commission might conduct a fresh voter registration.

Investigations at INEC headquarters in Abuja showed that the Chairman of the commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, had begun consultations with his management team on modalities for the registration.

Our correspondent learnt that the Presidency had been holding talks with INEC officials on how to raise N72bn required for the exercise.

It was also gathered that Jega and other top officials had been meeting with the Minister of Finance, Mr. Segun Aganga and his National Planning counterpart, Dr. Shamsudeen Usman.

Jega, at a news conference in Abuja on Thursday had given two conditions for compilation of a new voter register.

The INEC chairman had said that the commission needed between N50bn and N72bn for the exercise. He had also said that the Electoral Act must be amended to extend the deadline for completion of voter registration from September to November.

Our correspondents learnt that the government was considering the option of raising the fund through a supplementary appropriation bill or tentatively getting it from other ministries until a supplementary budget is approved.

The Federal Government allocated N36.4bn to INEC in the 2010 supplementary budget approved by the National Assembly on Wednesday. Before the budget review, N50bn had been earmarked for the commission.

Besides, Usman, had on July 8 said that development partners donated $80m for 2011 and 2015 elections

Although our correspondents gathered that a decision was yet to be taken on how to source the fund, there were indications that the N72bn would be released to the commission.

When contacted the Chief Press Secretary to Jega, Mr. Kayode Idowu, told our correspondent that there were favourable indications on the release of the funds, adding that discussions were going on.

But the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu on Monday said that the Senate was ready to receive any supplementary budget from the executive to accommodate INEC's demands.

Ekeweremadu, who spoke in Johannesburg on Monday at a dinner organized in his honour by Nigeria's Consular-General, said the National Assembly had approved direct funding of INEC from the Federation Account.

Also on Monday, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Dimeji Bankole, said that the N72bn required by INEC for voter registration was not too much.

Bankole, in an interview with journalists at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, said that the money was less than two per cent of the N4.6tn budget recently passed by the National Assembly.

He said, 'We just passed a N4.6tn budget. N72bn is less than two per cent of N4.6tn. Now the gentleman is asking for 1.5 per cent of the budget for us to have credible free and fair elections. I think he should have it and we should move our nation forward.'

It was also learnt that the National Assembly was ready to amend the Electoral Act to pave way for the extension of voter registration till November.

Preparatory to the release of the fund, investigations by our correspondents showed that INEC top officials discussed strategies on a cost effective and fast way of utilizing the fund.

Our correspondent gathered that the management team was considering options of buying directly from manufacturers or organizing selective bidding for competent contractors.

Jega had a media briefing last week disclosed that the commission would require the services of the Direct data capturing machines at each of the 120,000 polling unit across the country.

Hope rises on new voter register as presidency, INEC meet


By Niyi Odebode, John Alechenu and Oyetunji Abioye

Tuesday, 27 Jul 2010




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http://www.punchng.com/images/July/Friday/pix201007234332450.jpg

Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega

Indications emerged on Monday that the Independent National Electoral Commission might conduct a fresh voter registration.

Investigations at INEC headquarters in Abuja showed that the Chairman of the commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, had begun consultations with his management team on modalities for the registration.

Our correspondent learnt that the Presidency had been holding talks with INEC officials on how to raise N72bn required for the exercise.

It was also gathered that Jega and other top officials had been meeting with the Minister of Finance, Mr. Segun Aganga and his National Planning counterpart, Dr. Shamsudeen Usman.

Jega, at a news conference in Abuja on Thursday had given two conditions for compilation of a new voter register.

The INEC chairman had said that the commission needed between N50bn and N72bn for the exercise. He had also said that the Electoral Act must be amended to extend the deadline for completion of voter registration from September to November.

Our correspondents learnt that the government was considering the option of raising the fund through a supplementary appropriation bill or tentatively getting it from other ministries until a supplementary budget is approved.

The Federal Government allocated N36.4bn to INEC in the 2010 supplementary budget approved by the National Assembly on Wednesday. Before the budget review, N50bn had been earmarked for the commission.

Besides, Usman, had on July 8 said that development partners donated $80m for 2011 and 2015 elections

Although our correspondents gathered that a decision was yet to be taken on how to source the fund, there were indications that the N72bn would be released to the commission.

When contacted the Chief Press Secretary to Jega, Mr. Kayode Idowu, told our correspondent that there were favourable indications on the release of the funds, adding that discussions were going on.

But the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu on Monday said that the Senate was ready to receive any supplementary budget from the executive to accommodate INEC's demands.

Ekeweremadu, who spoke in Johannesburg on Monday at a dinner organized in his honour by Nigeria's Consular-General, said the National Assembly had approved direct funding of INEC from the Federation Account.

Also on Monday, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Dimeji Bankole, said that the N72bn required by INEC for voter registration was not too much.

Bankole, in an interview with journalists at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, said that the money was less than two per cent of the N4.6tn budget recently passed by the National Assembly.

He said, 'We just passed a N4.6tn budget. N72bn is less than two per cent of N4.6tn. Now the gentleman is asking for 1.5 per cent of the budget for us to have credible free and fair elections. I think he should have it and we should move our nation forward.'

It was also learnt that the National Assembly was ready to amend the Electoral Act to pave way for the extension of voter registration till November.

Preparatory to the release of the fund, investigations by our correspondents showed that INEC top officials discussed strategies on a cost effective and fast way of utilizing the fund.

Our correspondent gathered that the management team was considering options of buying directly from manufacturers or organizing selective bidding for competent contractors.

Jega had a media briefing last week disclosed that the commission would require the services of the Direct data capturing machines at each of the 120,000 polling unit across the country.