The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC has said that a lack of confidence and trust in public institutions is responsible for the high cost of conducting elections in Nigeria.
The INEC chairman disclosed this during an interactive session with the Nigerian Guild of Editors, NGE in Lagos.
How does this affect election cost?
Professor Yakubu said the cost of logistics, highly-secured ballot papers, allowances for personnel, and other miscellaneous costs were responsible for the highly expensive elections in Nigeria, noting that it is in contrast with what obtains in other countries of the world.
Citing France as a case study, the INEC boss said ballot paper is like an A4 paper compared to that of Nigeria that is printed to currency quality and then entrusted with the Central Bank of Nigeria for safe keeping, adding that it is unthinkable for anyone in France to attempt snatching the ballot box as against the practice here, where ballot boxes are moved with all protocols according to the movement of the national currency, just to protect the process.
The INEC chairman, who lamented that Nigeria is paying for the lack of trust in the electoral system, said our elections are however not the most expensive compared to other African countries if the entire cost was spread per head of the voting population estimated to be 95 million. In his words, he said:
“ The cost in Nigeria, I think is nine dollars per head as against what happens in other countries. Ours is not even the most expensive.
“The cost of an election in Nigeria in 2023 is 305 billion naira of the national budget of over 17 trillion naira. The cost of the election is just 1.8%, not even up to 2% of the national budget”.
He added that 60% of the election budget would be expended on logistics and personnel allowances, while the other 40% will be spent on technology costs.