INEC boss: Lack of trust in public institution cause of high cost of election

INEC boss: Lack of trust in public institution cause of high cost of election
According to Professor Mahmood Yakubu, the National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the cost of holding elections in Nigeria results from a lack of confidence in public institutions. He added that one of the factors contributing to the increased expense of holding elections was a large number of voters.

According to Yakubu, who was speaking at the Editors’ Forum on Friday in Lagos, the enormous voting population in Nigeria has made elections expensive to conduct.

He clarified that polls must be held simultaneously in every corner of the nation, adding that this would undoubtedly be expensive in terms of logistics and staff.

He, however, said there was no need to raise the alarm on the cost of conducting an election in Nigeria, saying the INEC Budget for the 2023 general election, which was put at N305 billion, is just 1.8 per cent of the Federal budget.

Yakubu said 60 per cent of the INEC budget is spent on logistics and personnel, saying that over 1.4 million personnel will be engaged for the forthcoming poll.

“For the 2023 general election in Nigeria for instance, preparation had been made for 95 million voters, yes we have 84 million registered voters now, we have only recently registered 12 million voters, but none of the recent registration has been added to the register. We are cleaning up and when we heard a few days ago that there are some fictitious names on the register, we say which register. We are not even compiling them yet, we are cleaning up, so that rumour is unfounded”, Yakubu said.

INEC boss reiterated the commitment of the commission towards conducting a credible election,

He said the commission will deploy more technology to make rigging impossible.

He pledged that the 2023 election would be free, fair, credible and verifiable.

Delivering his welcome address, the Nigeria Guild of Editors President, Mustapha Isah, called on the National Assembly to expedite action on the passage of the Bill, setting up the Electoral Offences Tribunal, saying those who commit electoral malfeasance must be brought to justice.

He assured the INEC that the Editors are ready to cooperate with INEC to achieve credible elections in Nigeria.

“We are ready to work with other credible organisations, to put pressure on the federal lawmakers to pass this all-important bill before the 2023 elections”, he said.

He further said, “Naturally, Nigerian journalists should be genuinely interested in the nurturing and deepening of the democratic space because they played a crucial role in the fight for the restoration of democracy in this country.

“When some politicians dominating the political space today were busy organising one million-man marches for Abacha to continue in office forever, we were in the forefront calling on the military to return to the barracks. Some journalists paid the supreme price, and others were jailed for embarking on this noble but dangerous venture. Some had to go into exile, while some media houses were shut down for months.

“Those who didn’t fight for democracy may not be in a position to defend it. Little wonder that the current politicians can’t even uphold internal party democracy. They find it very difficult to obey their parties’ constitutions, which they drew themselves.

“So, you could see that it is in our enlightened self-interest to work with INEC to deliver free, fair, and credible elections and, in the process, deepen people’s interest in democracy.

“It is the duty of the media to monitor the electoral process and ensure compliance with the provisions of the constitution, the Electoral Act, and the INEC guidelines for the conduct of the elections.”

He expressed the readiness of journalists to partner with INEC to conduct credible elections saying, however, that that would not stop the media from monitoring INEC’s conduct and its level of compliance with the laws of the land relating to the conduct of elections.