We have overcome funding challenges, says INEC
THE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has allayed fears that the drastic fall in the prices of oil may affect the release of adequate funds by government for the conduct of the 2015 general elections.
Stakeholders had raised concerns over the non-approval and passing of the 2015 budget as well as the dwindling price of oil in the world market, stressing that it could affect the funding of the elections.
Also, the National Planning Commission had said that it received complaints from some stakeholders in the 2015 general elections over the late release of funds, regretting that such could affect the performance of the security and other agencies that could play major roles in the elections.
Jega, who spoke at a one-day lecture organised by the African Policy Research Institute (APRI) on “Policy as a tool for political inclusion in Nigeria: INEC and the 2015 elections in Abuja, said that the Federal Government had approved and released funds required by the commission to conduct the elections.
The INEC chairman, who was a guest lecturer at the occasion, also disclosed that the National Assembly has approved the budget proposals from the commission for the election years, noting that the commission also took measures to scale down some of its demands for the election so as to get the best for the conduct of free and fair elections.
Jega, however, urged the government to make funds available for other agencies which are in partnership with the commission for the conduct of free and fair election, stressing that it is only when they are backed with financial support that they can mobilise their men and materials to play their required roles in the election.
“Funding is always an issue, but I can say that for INEC in terms of our preparation, it is no longer an issue, Any body will always want to have more money but we believe that we have sufficient resources to be able to conduct the 2015 general elections. So, we can say that funding is no longer an issue for us as far as the election is concerned.
“But we are also afraid with the position of other agencies that are partnering with the security agencies that will play complimentary roles. Our hope is that everybody should understand how important this year is as an election year. Adequate funds should be released to all organisations that are expected to play a key role in the electoral process. But we as an electoral commission, it used to be a concern but we now have enough fund to conduct the elections.
“There are things that we wanted to do to meet global best practices, but we had to scale down considering the funding situations but it would not affect the conduct of the elections. We will still do better elections that we did in 2011. The commission is happy to say that it has received from government the fund that is required to conduct the 2015 general elections, therefore we can say that funding is no longer a challenge to the forthcoming election”, Jega further said.