Why Elections Are Expensive In Nigeria-INEC President

The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, has attributed a lack of trust in public institutions to the high cost of holding elections in Nigeria.

Yakubu made this disclosure on Friday in Lagos State during an interactive session with the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) tagged: ‘The Editors’ Forum’, due in part to costs of logistics, high-security ballots, staff allowances, were responsible for the enormous cost of the elections in the country.

This was exactly as the INEC boss pointed out that in France the ballot paper is like an A4 sheet, because according to him it is inconceivable that anyone in that country will take the ballot, saying it was a different scenario in Nigeria where a ballot paper had to be printed in currency quality and entrusted to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and also “move the ballot papers with all protocols and security according to the movement of the national currency, just to protect the process.”

“This is not going to happen cheaply. So we’re paying for the cost of the lack of trust in the system,” Yakubu said.

However, Yakubu said the elections in Nigeria would not be the most expensive if the total cost spread per capita is expected to be around 95 million, although he recalled that polls in Ghana, Kenya and Guinea-Bissau were higher. were expensive if the voter population per capital was considered in relation to the cost.

“The cost in Nigeria is, I think, $9 per head compared to what is happening in other countries. Ours isn’t even the most expensive.

“The cost of elections in Nigeria in 2023 is N305 billion of the national budget of over N17 trillion. The cost of elections is only 1.8 percent, not even two percent of the national budget.

“Yes, although N305 billion is a huge amount, we need to see what the amount is essentially being spent on. If we take the technology costs out, 60 percent of the cost of elections in Nigeria is spent on logistics and staff allowances,” he said.

The INEC chief further said the commission would deploy no less than 1.4 million Nigerians for the 2023 national and state elections, as ad hoc personnel who would have to be paid and transported to their various locations, just as he noted. that Nigeria is almost getting it right with electronic voting.

“I am sure that if we continue to build confidence in the process, the cost of elections will drop significantly,” Yakubu said.

On vote buying, Yakubu said fighting the threat required the involvement of all stakeholders, including the media, adding that the commission had taken some steps to turn the tide and make it impossible.

Reiterating the commission’s commitment to electoral justice, Yakubu assured Nigerians that manipulation had been made difficult and impossible in the elections leading up to the 2023 election.

He said the commission had started to clean up the electoral register to that end, stressing that credible elections begin with the credible voter register.

However, Yakubu, who said the quality of elections is a direct reflection of the quality of the environment, and the environment will not change until quality elections that produce quality leaders are enabled, stressed that the choice Nigerians made in 2023 would have an impact on better or worse their lives, just as he assured the commission was ready to have better elections.

This was simply that he also identified security, national infrastructure, social media and attitudes of politicians as part of the challenges that would define the 2023 elections.

“An election cannot be better than the environment in which it is held, including the security situation, socio-economic, political culture, national infrastructure.

“It’s just amazing how INEC officials go to some villages to hold elections. Our election cannot be better than the quality of our infrastructure.

“We cannot have a thriving democracy without Democrats. The attitude of the political class is a major challenge. So there are. big task ahead of us and we don’t have time.

“It’s 161 days until the 2023 general election, we can make it work. Take from this INEC that we are committed to electoral justice. We have implemented reforms that we believe have taken us out of Egypt and we will never go back to Egypt,” he assured.

President of NGE, Mr. Mustapha Isah, earlier said in his welcome address that Nigerian journalists should be genuinely interested in nurturing and deepening the democratic space as they played a key role in the fight for the restoration of democracy in this country.

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