Professor Mahmood Yakubu says the commission will require N305 billion to conduct the 2023 general elections.
He disclosed this during a meeting with the Senate Committee on Appropriation at the National Assembly on Monday.
The INEC boss also noted that the amount will enable the commission to prepare for the election and purchase all the election materials needed and also cover several bye-elections across the country.
He, however, stated that the commission has already received N100 billion out of the required amount for the elections.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation Senator Jibrin Barau, has disclosed that the 2022 budget will be laid, debated, and passed on Tuesday, December 21.
There is also no word on whether President Buhari has written and forwarded a letter to the National Assembly on his decision to give or withdraw his assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.
The 30-day deadline stipulated by the constitution for the President to respond to the bill expired on Sunday, December 19.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has said that President Muhammadu Buhari does not have any excuse for not signing the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.
Wike said this on Sunday during an interview on Channels Television’s Programme, Sunday Politics.
He argued that contrary to claims that the President is holding back due to the quagmire over direct and indirect primaries as embedded in the bill, the main issue remains the electronic transmission of results.
“The ruling party in their conspiracy is trying to deceive Nigerians that the mere inclusion of the direct primaries in the electoral act amendment bill is the problem why the President does not want to sign or why he has refused to sign.
“The major issue is the transmission, the electronic transmission of results,” Wike asserted.
The governor added that because there are opportunities for clauses in a bill to be further amended, the President has no excuse why he could not have signed the bill and called for sections to be revisited.
“The issue is this, Mr President signed the Petroleum Industry Bill and sent it back for an amendment of the bill.
“If Mr President means well for this country and as he has promised Nigerians that he wants to conduct free and fair elections, then nothing stops Mr President from assenting to this amendment and then seek an amendment as regards the direct/indirect mode of conducting the primaries of various political parties,” Wike explained.
He added, “So if anybody tells you that abinitio, APC had wanted to support the electronic transmission of results of the 2023 election, that person must be a joker because I do know that in 2018/2019, why the President did not sign was because of card-reader. Mr President was told, if you sign that, it would lead to your failure of the election.”
Speaking further on the issue, the Rivers State Governor said based on the constitution, the National Assembly has the right to override President Buhari by two-third of the two chambers to veto the President’s decline.
He, however, expressed dismay over the fact that “the leadership of the National Assembly as we have it today cannot put in the agenda of the two chambers that they will override, veto Mr Presidents decline.”
According to the governor, the 9th Assembly does not have people who are capable of looking the President in the eye and telling him the truth when he makes a wrong decision.
On this premise, Wike arrived at the conclusion that Nigerians have no choice but to come out and say “enough is enough.” He added that the ruling party cannot continue to take Nigerians for a ride.
He declared that the opinions he was reeling out were not on behalf of a party but on behalf of Nigerians and that which is in their best interest.
“We are talking about what will make Nigeria be respected in the committee of nations as a country that believes in true, transparent democratic processes to elect her leadership.”
Governor Wike in his final summation on the matter stated that by refusing to accent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, President Buhari leaves Nigerians to doubt his promise as regards ensuring that the 2023 election will be free and fair.
▪︎ Report by Channels Television