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THREAT - COMING ANARCHY

INEC’s threat to 2019 elections

In 2019, INEC will pose the biggest threat to free and credible elections. It has failed an integrity test and the earlier Nigerians realise this coming anarchy, the safer for everyone. I will revert to this point later.

Fred Itua

In Nigeria, elections can be likened to a war. Politicians, whose only trade yields interest every four years, suspend commonsense in their hour of desperation. They throw sanity into the wastebasket and rehearse the same old lies.

They promise to build bridges where there are no rivers. In the midst of the chaos, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), by law is expected to provide leadership.

Ironically, INEC itself appears to be a victim of bad leadership. Leadership is now a scarce commodity in INEC. They take years to plan elections, but offer the worst outcomes. Whenever they derail, which has become their forte, they blame everyone, but themselves.

In 2019, INEC will pose the biggest threat to free and credible elections. It has failed an integrity test and the earlier Nigerians realise this coming anarchy, the safer for everyone. I will revert to this point later.

Last Tuesday, President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, read a letter from President Muhammadu Buhari on the floor of the upper legislative chamber. Item by item, he reeled out the request of Buhari to approve the sum of N242 billion for INEC. The sum is expected to be vired from the N578.319 billion, allegedly inserted into the budget by the National Assembly.

READ ALSO: Buhari writes NASS, seeks N500b supplementary budget, N228b for 2019 elections

In the proposal, Buhari is asking the parliament to make provisions for the sum of N242 billion for the conduct of the 2019 polls. The existing N49 billion for INEC in the 2018 budget, will form part of the N242 billion requested by Buhari.

According to the letter INEC is expected to get N189.2 billion, out of the N242 billion.

If the request is approved, the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) will get N4.2 billion. The Department of State Services is to get N12.2 billion.

The Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) will get N3.573 billion. The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) gets N30.541 billion, while Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) will receive N2.628 billion.

Part of the letter by Buhari reads: “As you are aware, the 2019 general election is scheduled to be conducted early in 2019. To ensure that adequate arrangements are made for free and fair elections, it has become necessary to appropriate funds to enable the relevant agencies to commence preparations.

“INEC and security agencies have accordingly recently submitted their requests. These have been subjected to the usual budget evaluation. The aggregate cost of the elections is estimated at N242,445,322,600.”

“You will also recall that when I signed the 2018 Appropriation Act, I indicated the need to request the reinstatement of certain cuts made to certain critical projects provided in the original Executive Bill.

“I am therefore submitting for your consideration, the reinstatement of the most critical of such cuts totalling N64,749,216,150, which are summarised in the preceding page.

“The total amount required to be provided for in the 2018 budget for the 2019 general elections and to restore the identified critical projects to the amount earlier proposed is therefore N228,854,008,215.

“Implementing a budget of N9.12 trillion for 2018 will be extremely challenging and therefore, I don’t consider it expedient to propose a further increase to the size of the 2018 Expenditure Framework to fund these very important and critical expenditure items,” he added.

Buhari, appealing to the Senate to do the needful in the interest of the country, pleaded: “I invite the Senate to consider, in the national interest, reallocating some of the funds appropriated for the new projects which were inserted into the 2018 budget proposal totalling N578,319,951,904, to cover the sum of N228,854,008,215 required as noted above.”

In 2015, Nigeria reportedly splashed $625 million on the conduct of the general elections. Based on the existing exchange rate in 2015, the naira equivalence was below N100 billion.

Interestingly, INEC, which was headed then by Saint Attahiru Jega, reportedly spent the huge sum on information technology systems and infrastructure; maps and voter lists preparation; training for returning officers and field, card readers and special events staff.

My friend, Nuruddeen Abdallah, has made my job easy for me. In his impeccable research, he made some shocking discoveries. The cost of conducting elections in Nigeria is higher than those of bigger economies such as Canada, United Kingdom and Australia.

Canada, for instance, spent $375 million on electoral expenditure where 17.5 million voted. The United Kingdom spent £113 million during its 2010 parliamentary elections in which 45.6 million voted. £28.6 million was the cost of distributing candidates’ mailings, and £84.6 million for the conduct of the poll.

Kenya, with 14.3 million registered voters, spent $427 million during its general elections in 2012. In 2017 elections, the Kenya’s budgetary allocation was $499 million; $429 million went to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), with the rest being distributed to the judiciary, National Intelligence Service and the Registrar of Political Parties.

Australia, with 14.7 million voters, spent $197.6 million for the House of Representatives and half of Senate elections in 2013. During its last general elections, Benin Republic, with N2.7 million voters, spent $15million.

Professor Mahmood Yakubu, is the chairman of INEC. Until his appointment, he was the Executive Secretary of Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND). Interestingly, the Eight Senate, conducted an investigation in 2016 and unearthed a N200 billion alleged fraud in TETFUND. Curiously, the current chairman of INEC was the Executive Secretary when the heist was reportedly executed. This is just for the records.

Back to business. Despite the uselessness of the naira at the international money market, N189 billion is still huge. Yakubu’s INEC must answer some salient questions. Since I am not privy to the breakdown of the huge sum and how INEC plans to spend our money, I still need to raise some posers notwithstanding.

In 2015, INEC spent billions on purchase of card readers, utility vehicles, computers and other information technology gadgets, training and other sundry expenses. Is Yakubu’s

INEC getting more vehicles, card readers, computers and information technology gadgets?

Yakubu must save whatever is left of the integrity of INEC and provide these explanations. In this era when silence is golden in Buhari’s regime, I urge Yakubu to speak up. If he intends to conduct elections in Sambisa forest or Mars, he needs to tell Nigerians.

For me, INEC is missing the point. INEC, as it stands today, is the biggest threat to the successful conduct of the 2019 general elections. Since Yakubu stepped in, he has conducted five gubernatorial elections in Kogi, Edo, Ondo, Anambra and Ekiti. He has also conducted by-elections in Rivers, Edo, Anambra and in other places.

In all the elections conducted so far by Yakubu, Nigerians, including me, have expressed misgivings. INEC officials in all the elections, particularly in Edo State, were accused of accepting bribes to compromise the outcome of the election. I am not aware of any internal investigation conducted so far in INEC or anyone who has been fired.

These same elements who have been accused of accepting bribes, will preside over next year’s general elections. If you are not worried, I wish you well. INEC does not need billions to conduct free and acceptable elections. It needs to put its house in order and prove to us that it has no secret agenda to work for the ruling party. Yakubu is now a notorious promise maker. At evey forum, he promises to conduct free and credible elections. What we have seen so far, however, is a far cry from what any sane people should accept.

As for the National Assembly, I can only make an appeal. INEC doesn’t need N189 billion to conduct elections in 2019. Before you give any approval, ask the right questions. INEC needs overhauling and not more money. Until Yakubu fixes the integrity crisis in INEC, let’s not empower it to conduct elections that are below what is acceptable globally.

Ahmad Lawan, call thyself to order

There is a brewing cold war between the Senate and the House of Representatives, over alleged frustration of bills passed in the Red Chamber by the Green Chamber.

According to the Leader of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, the House of Representatives seldom gives accelerated hearing to bills passed by the upper chamber.

A fortnight ago, President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, mandated Lawan to meet with his House of Representatives counterpart and find out why bills passed by the Senate were not given speedy concurrence.

Saraki, also mandated Lawan to come up with ways to ensure that bills passed by them were not “unnecessarily delayed” by the House of Representatives. Curiously, Lawan told his colleagues on Wednesday that a bill was underway to amend the Standing Rules of both chambers. According to him, a clause will be included in the new Standing Rules that will compel each chamber to concur to any bill passed within a timeframe. He revealed that in the Rules, if the House of Representatives for instance, fails to give concurrence to a bill passed by the Senate after a certain period of time, it will automatically be passed into law.

Lawan explained: “I have met with my counterpart in the House of Representatives on this issue. We are coming up with a bill to amend the Standing Rules of the Senate. In the amendment, we will make it mandatory that if any chamber fails to give concurrence to a bill passed, after a period of time, it will automatically be passed into law.

“This is to ensure bills are unnecessarily delayed. The amendment of the Standing Rules will resolve this issue once and for all. We should expect that soon.”

Oga Lawan, Nigeria does not operate a unicameral legislature like Ghana. Your argument is only giving credence to an agitation by Nigerians that the Senate should be scrapped since the House of Representatives can perform your roles. I know you are a man of reason and I expect you to call yourself to order before you start another war Nigeria cannot afford right now. Thank you!

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Tokunbo David
Tokunbo David

Writer and editor.

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2 Comments

  1. Ezekiel Okeke 22nd July 2018 at 7:11 am

    Only an ignorant fool of this territory natives will be talking about so-called election where there is no democracy in this natives territory under the dead fraudulent political name Nigeria controlled by British bandits and fraudulent criminal America with their fraudulent criminal UN of 20th century world international order using fulani fraudulent criminal sultanate political government with its emirates and the enemy’s brainwashed terrorism mercenaries nickname military, police etc. In a scenario majority votes is already in the hands of fulani fraudulent criminal sultanate political government with its emirates with the 19 northern states under the bondage of fulani fraudulent criminal sultanate political government with its emirates, what for do an election is needed in such fraudulent circumstance? The mockery, the fraud of British bandits and fraudulent criminal America with their fraudulent criminal UN of 20th century world international order using fulani fraudulent criminal sultanate political government with its emirates under the dead fraudulent political name Nigeria, has come to an end in this final conquest of the Liberation Revolutionary Warfare of the natives under the natives Disintegrated Republics which ends in Sokoto- the sit of the satan of this natives territory. Legitimate election is only in the natives Disintegrated Republics where Democracy exist in which this territory natives has Democratic Capacity to choose the best among the natives, which must be defended with the Sword in this final conquest of the Liberation Revolutionary Warfare of the natives under the natives Disintegrated Republics which ends in Sokoto- the sit of the satan of this natives territory. Nothing on earth will keep fulani fraudulent criminal sultanate political government with its emirates in this natives territory of Disintegrated Republics. Nothing on earth will keep the dead fraudulent political name Nigeria in this natives territory of Disintegrated Republics. Nothing on earth will keep the enemy’s brainwashed terrorism mercenaries nickname military, police etc. in this natives territory of Disintegrated Republics. Freedom of this territory natives from the bondage of the fraudulent political name Nigeria is a must with the Sword in this final conquest of the Liberation Revolutionary Warfare of the natives. Freedom of northern natives from fulani bondage is a must with the Sword in this final conquest of the Liberation Revolutionary Warfare of the natives. It is Revolutionary Militant Groups- RMG etc. formation which its members are the new military, police etc. under the natives Disintegrated Republics- Biafra Republic of south east, Niger Delta Republic of south south, Oduduwa Republic of south west, North East Republic, North West Republic, North Central Republic. The war front is Sokoto- the last bastion of fulani fraudulent criminal sultanate political government with its emirates under the dead fraudulent political name Nigeria controlled by British bandits and fraudulent criminal America with their fraudulent criminal UN of 20th century world international order. God given Victory is the natives. Only the Sword decides. God Is With Us!!!

  2. Ebuka Amaechi 22nd July 2018 at 6:43 pm

    A Nation gets the type of leadership it desires. May be due to Corruption,ethnicity, religious bigotory & other mundane pursuits, Nigerians are waitn for the Angels to come frm Astra World b4 they could collectively rise to fight all the visible man made ills curently confrontn this Nation.Wither Nigerians?

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