N242bn for 2019 elections? Nigerians query
Recently, President Muhammadu Buhari sent correspondence to the Senate requesting for N242.4 billion for the Independent Electoral Commission, INEC, to conduct the 2019 general election, scheduled to hold February 16 and March 2. The historic sum which has only about half captured in the 2018 budget is shared as follows: Office of the National Security Adviser 4, 281, 500,000: INEC N189, 207, 544, 893; NSCDC N3, 573, 534, 500; Nigeria Police N30, 541, 317, 432 NIS N2, 628, 143, 320; DSS N12, 213, 282, 455. Nigerians who spoke to Edrina EMMANUEL and Elizabeth OFFIONG described the sum as outrageous given the level of poverty in the country. Excerpts:
BAR. NKEM: I feel the increase is highly unnecessary. The police is asking for unreasonable hundreds of millions to feed dogs to be used for elections, while the Nigerian Civil Defence is asking for hundreds of millions to feed horses. How many times have we seen dogs or horses in election venues?
The question still remains whether all these unnecessary expenses are going to guarantee us a free and fair election? The obvious answer is no!
I will simply call this a bazaar of our politicians and so called leaders sharing and misappropriating funds.
PETER ANTAI: our election budget for 2019 has been increased by over 19 per cent from the figure we had in 2015.
Although we may consider the need for increased security presence in the upcoming elections, the money must be put into reasonable use and not just financing the pockets of security agents and the rest.
INEC should be transparent on how the money is spent across the nation so that the figure can be justified.
The ultimate goal is to conduct a free and fair election, where voters across the nation feel secure enough to come out and Vote.
Let the security agents as well as other electoral officials ensure that every polling unit is secured, else they will have major explanations to give after the elections.
ABDUL MOHAMMED: It is hard to understand why we need that much funding for the 2019 elections. I see this increase as a ploy by electoral officials and other security chiefs to divert funds into their pockets. This is because of the ridiculous reasons they have given for wanting that much funding.
The problems will begin if we do not have these horses and dogs they are feeding with several millions present in polling units for security purposes.
We need to set our priorities right in this country. This is no time to misappropriate funds, but rather a time for the INEC to ensure that elections are conducted in a peaceful manner.
There is already so much tension in the country for electoral officials and security chiefs to focus on enriching their pockets rather than making the safety of every Nigerian a priority during the upcoming elections.
BARNABAS JOHNSON: I do not approve of that kind of money to be spent on election; it's outrageous. We have a lot of problems in this country that require money to be solved. Spending N242.4 billion for election in one year is just not a good idea.
We are suffering poverty and other challenges. Some people can hardly eat and we are spending such money on elections.
If you spend N242.4 billion for election, the money would end up in the hands of security agents who would intimidate people on election day and make it impossible for us to get the right candidates; our votes would be sold for money.
In 1999 we spent N1 billion, 2015 we spent about N19 billion. Between 2015v and 2019 which would be the next election is just four years, and we are going to have more than 200% increment just for election.
JASON HARRISON: As a concerned Nigerian, I have an issue with our electoral campaigns and everything election in this country. I believe that if we are going to have a free and fair election, the amount of money spent on election every four years is outrageous.
If we are going to have a free and fair election, we should have a free atmosphere to vote candidates of our choice. But where government is spending 242.4 billion, I believe it’s a bad signal because the money will end up in people's hands.
We are going to be imposed with leaders as our votes will not count and we would never have trustworthy leaders ruling this country.
I don't think that kind of money should be spent on elections. It could be spent on security, health or education.
VANESSA EMMANUEL: I really don't understand how people think. How can such amount of money be used for election and every other thing in the country is 0? Security 0, economy 0, poverty is on the increase and yet somebody sat down and wrote 242.4 billion as election budget.
I am very sure that none of them is feeling the pains the masses are feeling. Now give a hungry man 5000 naira that he has not seen since he has been working and tell me if he will not vote an animal as president. If not what are they using the money for?.
Only God can help us in this country. Until people stop being selfish then we can say there is change.