10 Days To Go: No Cash Yet For Elections – INEC
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has stated that it lacks the funds to mobilize its ad hoc staff ten days before the February 25 presidential and National Assembly elections.
Recall that Nigerians have been experiencing a naira note shortage since the Central Bank of Nigeria redesigned the N200, N500, and N1000 notes.
In response to a lawsuit filed by the governments of Kaduna, Kogi, and Zamfara states challenging the currency policy, the Supreme Court on February 8 enjoined the federal government from enforcing the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) cash swap deadline.
Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), met with the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, last Tuesday
During this meeting, he requested concessions regarding the naira redesign policy, with specific reference to the limitations placed on cash withdrawals and the need to make some cash available for some peculiarities that cannot be met with electronic transfer of funds.
Emefiele responded that he would ensure the CBN is not viewed as an agent used to thwart the upcoming general election, and that the central bank would provide INEC with the necessary naira notes.
When the Resident Electoral Commissioner for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Alhaji Yahaya Bello, raised the issue, however, it became apparent that the new notes had not been made available to the electoral body prior to the election.
Bello stated that the CBN’s cashless policy could hinder the ability of the INEC to conduct general elections.
Speaking in Abuja at the North-Central stakeholders’ roundtable on the 2023 general elections, which was organized by the Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA), he stated that the commission needs cash to coordinate security and logistics, and that the scarcity of the naira could have an impact on this.
He stated that if nothing was done to address the cash shortage caused by the policies, it would be difficult for INEC in the FCT and across the country to deploy election staff and materials, as the majority of services required cash to obtain.
Aside from the cash shortage, he stated that the commission was prepared for the elections, as it had received 80 percent of polling materials and trained staff prior to the 25 February and 11 March elections.
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