Investigations has revealed that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) rescheduling of the Presidential and National Assembly elections to Saturday, February 23 has cost the electoral body about N7 billion.
It was gathered that INEC had set aside N32.2bn for the elections which should have taken place on February 16, 2019 and the N7 billlion loss represents over 20 per cent of the budget for the elections.
The breakdown of INEC’s presidential election budget, which was obtained by newsmen showed that N31.3bn was budgeted for operational cost while N88.9m was budgeted for election administrative cost and N786m for miscellaneous expenses.
Calculations has revealed that nearly a quarter of the budget had already been spent on transportation of over one million ad hoc staff; deployment of sensitive election materials, including over 150 million ballot papers and result sheets; and charges paid to the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Nigerian Air Force.
These expenses will also be incurred in today’s Presidential and National Assembly election.
It was gathered, for instance, that N2.7bn was budgeted for hiring 12-seater buses at the rate of N22, 500 per bus for transporting 1,376, 473 ad hoc workers.
The sum had already been expended as of last Saturday and would have to be spent again ahead of February 23.
In addition, N247m had been spent on the deployment of ICT technical support staff to registration areas, supervisory area and polling units.
The sum covers duty tour allowance for the deployment of men and materials to all the registration areas during the presidential election.
About N1.9 billion had been spent on movement allowance for over 1.3 million polling officers and assistant polling officers for election duties.
Also, about N1.8 billion had also been spent on election logistics, which included the movement, deployment and retrieval of men and materials for elections. The money covered the provision for distribution of sensitive materials for the election and the provision of logistic support to states as well as the distribution of non-sensitive materials.
The sum of N424m was paid for the transportation, accommodation and internal movement of 33, 950 return officers and collation officers.
INEC has also paid N525m to the CBN and the Nigerian Air Force for the storage and movement of election materials.
However, it remains unclear if the commission will again make full payment for these services to the CBN and air force or will be given concessions by the apex bank and the air force.
If the charges are paid again, it will bring the total sum to over N7.5bn
Meanwhile, the National Commissioner for Voter Education and Publicity, Mr Festus Okoye, has stated that he did not know how much the commission had lost to the postponement.
“I cannot say for sure how much was spent. I don’t have the statistics,” he said.
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