The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it will require about one billion naira to commence voter registration in 2021.
INEC chairman Professor Mahmoud Yakubu stated this while presenting the commission’s budget to the Nigerian Senate.
“For continuous voter registration, the Commission intend to resume voter registration in the first quarter of 2021,” Yakubu said.
“And once we resume, it will be continuous for one and half years, at least until six months to the next general election. In other words, the Commission is not going to resume voter registration for a week, two weeks or a month but we are working out the details”
Yakubu told the Senate that the number of court cases that arose from the 2019 general election had risen to 1700.
Yakubu informed the Senate that “Each time anyone goes to court, INEC is joined, but we have to hire lawyers to defend us. We are not paying fantastic fee, we are applying Federal Ministry of Justice scale of fees.”
“If for instance you have a case for governorship election before the supreme court, it’s a maximum of N4.5 million. But because of the number of cases, we are almost getting close to 1700 pre-election and post-election cases in 2019 alone, and every day you hear people going to court and joining INEC, but we will continue to do what we can within available resources,” he added.
The INEC chairman also disclosed that it had completed all preparations to conduct elections in which Nigerians in Diaspora could vote.
It, however, asked Nigerians to wait for such a time the National Assembly would be ready to amend the Constitution and the appropriate laws that currently prohibits participation of persons in the Diaspora in elections.
“The Commission is desirous of giving Nigerians living abroad the right to vote. After all, all our neighbouring countries do so. But it requires the amendment to the constitution and the Electoral Act for that to happen.
“And we have already worked out the document. Once the law is amended today, we can roll out. We are ready. We have had several meetings with the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) but we can’t go beyond what the law provides”