2019: INEC speaks on suffering difficulties

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The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Mahmood Yakubu, has said the delay in the passage of its budget and amendment to the Electoral Act won’t affect the conduct of the 2019 elections.

Mahmood assured that the Commission won’t suffer any difficulty in conducting 2019 general elections due to the delay.

News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, quoted the INEC Chairman as giving the assurance while speaking in Abuja, on Friday.

The INEC boss insisted that there was “no discrepancy between the figure of N189.2bn the commission submitted to the executive and what the National Assembly appropriated for the commission.”

Mahmood stated that the Commission had discussed with the Ministry of Finance on the disbursement of fund for the elections.

He expressed confidence that the “Commission was not going to suffer any encumbrances in that respect.”

On procurements that required long term, Yakubu said that INEC had initiated the actions, as contracts were already awarded in line with the provision of the provisions of the Public Procurement Act, as money would only be paid for work done.

He said, “We have awarded those contracts that we needed to award for procurement we needed to make before the elections.

“Basically, the sensitive materials, ballot boxes, smart card readers, the permanent voter cards, the voting cubicles and components for the enhancement of card readers.

“Our hope is that by the first week of December all these components will be delivered to the commission.

“The election is holding on Feb. 16 and March 2, so, we don’t hope to suffer any difficulties in meeting these requirements in the conduct of the elections.

“Other items of the expenditure will come close to the elections. For instance, payment of the ad hoc staff will be done February next year, not earlier.

“Engagement of transporters for electoral logistics will be done next year not this year.

“So, we should be able to meet these entire commitments base on the appropriation by the NASS and also the cash flow discussion we had with the ministry of finance.

“We don’t expect to suffer any inconvenience in that regard.
“Election is a sovereign responsibility and we must say that the government of Nigeria has responded to proper funding of the 2019 general elections.’’

On delay in the amendment of the Electoral Act, Yakubu said that the Commission would also not have “difficulties on implementation, if the amended electoral Act is signed into law.”

He said, “In our discussions with the NASS we have been preview to some of the provisions in the draft bill and we took a proactive step.

“We took some of the new provisions and assumed that eventually these provisions will be passed and assented to.

“We started looking at the possibilities of introducing regulations and guidelines, in case these provisions become laws, what can we do to implement them?

“I want to say that we have gone really far with these. If tomorrow the bill is assented to there are provisions that we immediately implement. But there are provisions that we cannot implement simply because of time.

“For instance, full blown electronic voting; it is impossible because of the time frame available to the general elections, which is 112 days to make provision for electronic voting in the 2019 general elections.

“So, we are aware of the provisions, we have worked closely with the NASS and also we made some draft regulations and guidelines.

“In case some of the provisions become laws we will have no difficulties in implementing them. So we have been proactive.’’

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