The Independent National Electoral Commission on Wednesday declared that the Federal Government spent N122.9bn to conduct the 2011 general elections.
Chief Press Secretary to the INEC National Chairman, Mr. Kayode Idowu, who stated this in a statement, also noted that the commission saved about N9bn from the initial N131.4bn budgeted for the exercise.
Of the amount spent, Idowu said N66.3bn was for recurrent expenditure while N56.6bn went for capital expenditure.
He said, “Contrary to lingering speculations, the actual cost of the 2011 elections, including all costs involved in the voter registration exercise, is N66.3bn for recurrent expenditure and N56.6bn for capital expenditure – making a total of N122.9bn or, if you like, $800.6m at an exchange rate of N153.5 to $1 which prevailed at the time.
“This represented a saving of N9bn on a total of N131.4bn that was appropriated.”
Idowu, who said the commission appreciated the concerns of Nigerians over the huge financial costs of elections in the country, said the thrust of INEC’s strategic planning was to seek ways of cutting on expenditure while safeguarding the integrity of the electoral process.
He added, “INEC has, thus, been looking at cost-saving international best practices that can be adapted to Nigerian peculiarities without exposing the system to abuse.”
On the recent Federal Executive Council approval of N2.1bn for INEC to produce 33.5 million Permanent Voter Cards, Idowu said the money was for the second batch of PVCs.
The PVCs, he said, were for the 73.5 million voters registered between January and February 2011.
Federal Government in 2012 had approved N2.6bn for production of the first batch of 40 million cards, while the latest approval was for the second phase of the project.
On whether there was need for the new PVC project, Idowu said it was important considering the nation’s electoral history.
He said, “The PVCs will replace the cold-laminated Temporary Voter Cards that were issued during the voter registration exercise in 2011.
“Experience has shown that these temporary cards are not only fragile, but also susceptible to abuse by unscrupulous persons, who were in the past reported to have illicitly massed up the cards and put them in the hands of cronies to use in manipulating elections.
“Procedures put in place by INEC since the 2011 general elections have considerably lessened the susceptibility of these cards to such abuse.”
He promised that the new PVCs that the commission would soon issue to the voters were better fraud-proof.