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INEC begins 2019 election preparation, plans budget

The Independent National Electoral Commission said on Monday that it had started preparations for the 2019 general elections.

The Chairman of the commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, told the House of Representatives’ Committee on Electoral Matters, in Abuja, that the early preparation was to guard against INEC being behind schedule.

The current All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government has barely 26 months left in its four-year tenure.

Yakubu was at the National Assembly to defend the electoral umpire’s 2017 budget.

The committee is chaired by a member of the APC from Gombe State, Mrs. Aisha Dukku.

Yakubu said a “strategic plan” for the elections had been drawn up and was being fine-tuned to ascertain the financial implications of the polls.

Presidential, National Assembly and House of Assembly elections will hold in 2019 while the governorship poll will be conducted in 29 states of the federation in the same year.

Yakubu informed the lawmakers that the strategic plan was being discussed at various levels of government, particularly the executive arm.

He explained that part of the plans was to work out the budget for the elections, beginning with a supplementary budget request to be submitted to the National Assembly later this year.

Yakubu added that in 2018, there would be a full budget for the 2019 polls in addition to the regular budget of the commission.

The INEC chairman added, “At this point, we cannot put a figure to the budget for the elections (2019) until we complete the process of validating the strategic plan.

“Therefore, we are likely to approach the executive and the National Assembly for supplementary budget in this 2017.

“The supplementary aspect should incorporate something for the elections and in 2018, we will have it in the main proposals.”

The Budget Office had given INEC N45bn to undertake its activities this year.

Yakubu said N20.9bn of the figure would go into personnel cost while another N19.1bn was proposed for elections that would be conducted this year.

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