This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria: Costing the 2015 Elections

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For instance, the body projected that the cost for the 2015 elections would be reduced by about $1 (N160) as against the $8.8 (N1,478) in 2011 to $7.9 representing almost a 10 % decrease in cost, which is about N1,264 per voter for a total of 73.5 million voters. Jega however added that the guiding principle for the commission has been to make elections more cost-effective and to give Nigerians better value for their money. He said the commission wished to meet its funding requirements ahead of the elections, and hoped to hold the elections between January and February 2015 to allow for time to resolve all litigations that could arise from the exercise. But Nigerians are not swayed. Many are of the view that despite the huge financial investments in INEC since the Fourth Republic and the consistent promises to give Nigerians credible election, the body has continued to fail the people.

A Lagos-based lawyer, Mr. Fred Agbaje, wondered why INEC required as much as it is demanding for the election. His position tallied with that of the Senate President, Senator David Mark, who craved credible election.

"The 2015 election should never be about funding, but on how we can have a free and fair election where votes will count. Not the type of shenanigans that took place in the name of election in Anambra State," Agbaje said.

He argued that the financial demands of the body were rather wasteful, saying "What on earth does INEC need $515m for; another aimless jamboree? $7 per voter? How many voters do actually turn out for elections? What happens to the $7 of those voters who do not turn out? And how did INEC arrive at $7?

"Electoral fraud has now been extended to INEC funding fraud. INEC's concern should be how to conduct a meaningful and credible election and not money. The previous money INEC got in respect of past woeful elections, what became of them? It's more money, more fraud and woeful elections results. INEC's priority now should be on relevant logistics for the conduct of credible election. Nothing more," Agbaje said. During Jega's presentation, Mark, who was represented by the Majority Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba, specified that the conduct of a credible election is paramount as it would confer legitimacy to elected officials. "If elections are not credible, the public will not see those elected as authentic but they would be seen as impostors. If elections are credible, those elected would be regarded as authentic."

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