Mahmood Yakubu, chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says the electoral body equires N305 billion to conduct the 2023 general elections.
Mr Yakubu disclosed this during a meeting with the Senate Committee on Appropriation at the National Assembly on Monday.
“The commission made a submission through the executive being part of the executive body. We made a submission for N305 billion for the 2023 general elections in a very comprehensive 22-page document with 260 budget lines,” Mr Yakubu said.
He said the amount required will enable INEC prepare for the election and purchase all the election materials needed and also cover several by-elections across the country.
In his address, Mr Yakubu noted that so far the sum of N140 billion had been made available to the electoral body.
“The N140 billion was broken into two, we take it that N40 billion is our regular budget as an agency of Government and N100 billion was the first tranche of the 2022 budget and we have gone ahead to make provisions accordingly,” Mr Yakubu said.
“For the N40 billion annual budget including in that are also elections that we are supposed to conduct particularly off-season elections.
“It may interest the committee to know that we have 8 bye-election pending; three Federal constituencies and five State constituencies. In Fact the last vacancy occurred only last Wednesday following the death of a member representing Jiwa West in Kaduna State,” he added.
In making a case for more releases from the government, the INEC chairman highlighted the lawmaker’s activities that must be carried out ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The chairman of the committee, Jibrin Barau, followed Mr Yakubu’s comments, saying the required appropriation would be made for the electoral body in the 2022 budget in the general interest of Nigerians.
In 2018, the National Assembly had approved the electoral body’s request to expend the sum of N189 billion for the 2019 elections.
The INEC had conducted the 2019 polls comprising the Presidential and National Assembly elections on February 23, 2019 and the governorship, state houses of assembly and FCT area council elections on March 9, 2019.
The electoral umpire’s budget for the 2019 elections had been increased by about N69 billion compared to the 2015 election budget.
In 2015, the electoral body spent N108.8 billion conducting the general elections, which produced President Muhammadu Buhari, 31 governors, 109 senators and 360 House of Representatives members, as well as thousands of state assembly members.
The body said in its report that the breakdown of the amount per the 68,833,476 registered voters translated to N1,749.38 per Nigerian voter or $8.33 at the exchange rate of N210 per dollar at that time.
Source: Peoples Gazette