The electoral umpire said that logistics, personnel costs, and electoral disputes were responsible for the increase in government spending for elections.
The Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, stated this in Abuja when he addressed the media to explain why the commission earmarked whooping N19.1 billion for Anambra governorship election in 2017.
According to him, INEC maintains over 800 offices and 16,000 regular staff nationwide, hire thousands of ad-hoc staff who are mainly corps members, and acquires sensitive materials abroad due to integrity deficit and trust issues in the country.
He noted that provisions made for the conduct of fresh elections ordered by the courts following electoral disputes also added to the increasing cost of conducting elections in Nigeria.
Oyekanmi said: “Nigeria is a big country and the population is quite high. So many things are put in place for elections in Nigeria. We hire a lot of ad-hoc staff for elections. We have the security apparatus. We have the ballot boxes and papers, and other sensitive materials we acquire abroad due to integrity deficit and trust issues in the country. A lot of logistics go into elections in Nigeria
“In 2016 we had N50 billion, and of course about N20 billion of that went into personnel cost. We have over 16,000 staff. We have over 800 offices nationwide – one in each of the 774 local governments across the country. We are in the 36 states of the federation and Abuja, and all these staff has to be paid and have to be mobilized. That is different from the thousands of ad-hoc staff that we need during elections. You know we rely on members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) to conduct our elections.
“But of course, in 2016, we spent N87 billion on elections that was; because, last year we had over 160 elections that were conducted; rerun elections, by-elections, and end of tenure elections including Edo and Ondo gubernatorial elections.
“Luckily for us this year, we have only Anambra to conduct towards the end of the year, and our proposal for this year is quite less for electoral recurrent. In 2016, electoral recurrent was about N24 billion but this year; we have N19.1 billion because we have fewer elections to conduct.”
“So, the logistics that go into all these things increase the cost of conducting elections.
“Then, you have the dispute after elections which may necessitate the conduct of fresh elections and it costs money. These are the factors that make conducting elections in Nigeria very expensive.”