Chris Steven, Abuja
Stakeholders and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) on Thursday in Abuja protested the over N120 billion reportedly spent on the recently concluded 2015 General Elections, describing it as mind bugling.
They also called for a reduction in the cost of conducting election in the country due to the economic meltdown that the country is experiencing and also to make election conduct more transparent and credible.
Speaking at a public presentation of the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) and MacArthur Foundation final report on the 2015 election on “Mobilizing, Organising and Educating Citizens for Participation and Observation of the pre-election and Election Day Processes in Abia and Imo states”, the Head Research, Policy and Advocacy of the Youth Initiative for Advocacy Growth and Advancement, (YIAGA) Samson Itodo, said that although the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) intends to make the report on the election funding public next week, election stakeholders are deeply concerned about the huge fund expended.
“We all know that election is a very expensive activity especially in a country like Nigeria that has a very high electoral demography and a vast population however there is a need for us as a nation to cut down the cost of running election.
Nigeria as a country cannot continue spending that much on election, INEC has to devise means to cut down the cost. The country cannot be procuring electoral equipments every time the country has to embark on election, it is frivolous.
“INEC spent huge amount of money for the recruitment of ad-hoc staffs for the election, that is quite understandable, I think Nigerians too should be able to make some sacrifices, we need to have volunteers that will assist INEC during elections, this will go a long way in cutting the cost of election in the country,” Itodo said.
The deputy country director of the MacArthur Foundation Dayo Olaide expressed great concern about the future of elections in the country, adding that President Buhari being the biggest benefactor of electoral reforms in the country cannot afford to toy with electoral reform, especially the fine tuning of the Electoral Act and other laws relating to elections.
The TMG Chairman, Comrade Ibrahim Zikirullahi who presented the report advised INEC to improve on the technical aspects of its activities in future elections, saying much of the gains recorded were due to technicalities including the usage of the Card Readers among others.