By Omeiza Ajayi
ABUJA— Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has said it would seek ways to reduce the cost of elections in the country.
According to the commission, the increasing cost of elections in the country is partly due to security and logistical reasons.
At a validation workshop on the study of the cost of elections in West Africa organised by ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions, ECONEC, in Abuja, yesterday, ECONEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said the study was part of ECONEC’s two-year Work Plan (2016-2018) borne out of the serious concern of all electoral commissions in the sub-region about the spiraling cost of conducting elections.
Yakubu, who is also chairman of INEC, said: “With every cycle, the cost of elections keeps rising, making many countries unable to fund critical aspects of the electoral process as a sovereign responsibility.
“The ever-rising cost of voter registration and the compilation of a credible voters’ register, recruitment and training of electoral officials, provision of electoral logistics, election security, civic and voter education, procurement of sensitive and non-sensitive materials, deployment of electoral technology, undertaking regular engagement with stakeholders and handling of pre-election and post-election litigations are enormous.
‘’The task of meeting such extensive expenditure has increasingly challenged the national resources of many countries in our region. It is against this background that the Governing Board of ECONEC inaugurated this study to explore what we can do as election managers, working together with national stakeholders and development partners, to find ways to reduce the cost of elections without jettisoning new innovations or compromising the quality, transparency and credibility of elections.’’
According to him, ECONEC has undertaken needs assessment, solidarity and mid-term review missions to several member states.
“The objective is for Election Management Bodies, EMBs, in our sub-region to share experience, expertise and even pool resources not only with a view to ensuring best practice through peer review but also in order to reduce the cost of conducting elections among our member states.
“I am glad to report that it is in this spirit of cooperation that Burkina Faso assisted neighbouring Niger Republic with ballot boxes and the printing of the voters’ register for the February 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections.
“Similarly, Ghana provided support to the Republic of Liberia with the printing of the voters’ register for the October 2017 presidential and parliamentary elections.