The Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Attahiru Jega, has said the solution to recurring gaps in election funding is for the country to treat elections as a cycle, and not events.
Briefing the House of Representatives Committee on Reform of Government Institutions on Monday, Jega said through this practice, there will be consistent and even funding of the Election Management Body (EMB) over years in-between elections, as against the provision of quantum sums in the election year as is presently the practice.
He explained that this is very important because election funding has been politicised by many Nigerians, such that the huge sums provided to the EMB in election years are viewed with suspicion.
He also said if elections are funded as a cycle, essential requirements for the electoral process would be met on a progressive and incremental basis in a way that would ensure the operational efficiency of INEC, even as it would enhance its independence and guarantee the integrity of elections.
The INEC Chairman, in a prepared presentation, identified funding as one of the challenges facing the Commission as it prepares for the 2015 general election. Other challenges, according to him, include the security situation in some parts of the country, and the low level of citizens’ enlightenment.
Citing an instance of how funding gaps hamper the Commission’s operations, Jega noted that the inadequacy of storage facility available for INEC’s Direct Data Capture (DDC) machines contributed to the malfunctioning of some of the machines being lately deployed for Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) across the country.