– From Amos Dunia –
Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Prof. Attahiru Jega on Tuesday requested the Senate to approve another N5 billion to enable his Commission laminate the voters’ cards. This was coming barely three weeks after he made similar request of additional N6.6 billion for an extension of the voters’ registration.
Jega, who appeared before the Senate Committee on INEC to defend the commission’s 2011 budget further requested for N63.1 million and N77 million for refreshment and honorarium respectively during the 2011 fiscal year.
This was even as the Budget Office proposed N2.7 billion to cover the exercise which the INEC boss described as far inadequate, stressing that nothing short of N5 billion would do the job.
According to Prof. Jega; “the commission will need N5 billion to convert an estimated 80 million voters’ cards to plastic cover. Each of the plastic cover is estimated to cost the commission N64. We will have difficulties with the 40 per cent cut in the N5 billion for the job, because we have registered 67.7 million Nigerians and will continue the exercise after the general elections.”
The INEC chairman also said the voters’ cards issued to those who were registered would only last for a maximum of two months but would last longer if laminated, adding that the commission registered 67.7 voters in the last exercise and already working on a timetable to continue with the voters’ registration immediately after the April general elections.
He further said the exercise would be repeated after 10 years to capt
re those who may had reached the voting age after the last exercise. Prof. Jega also told the Senator Isiaka Adeleke-led committee that the commission would need another N450 million to cover donations and gifts to some agencies that already made presentations for sponsorship of capacity building workshops and seminars.
This was as he also said the commission would spend about N181 million on fueling and lubricants in addition to another N45 million on generators and plant for the 2011 fiscal year.
Similarly, the commission was expected to spend N22 million on local training while N270 million was reserved for foreign training in addition to another N180 million on local travel just as it would need N135 million for foreign tours.
Prof. Jega told the Senate committee that the slash in the commission’s 2011 budget was done by the Budget Office without consultation with the electoral body thus said that N51 billion earlier proposed was expected to put the commission in better position to deliver credible elections in April.No. of Views:91