Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have accused the Muhammadu Buhari government of dumping cost saving measures for the 2019 general election.
They described the N242 billion budget to prosecute next year’s general election as “outrageous,” insisting that with modern technology deployed, the nation will not spend close to the amount being proposed.
The Executive Director of Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, who spoke on behalf of 15 other CSOs, at a press conference, also accused both the executive and the legislature of overheating the polity in the battle to prove supremacy.
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According to him, it was curious that despite the fact that the date for the 2019 election was known since 2015 and specific dates released since January 2018, the executive and Legislature have been foot dragging and resorting to playing dirty politics.
The CISLAC boss urged the lawmakers to scrutinise the virement with a view to eliminating duplications and wasteful spending, noting that bloated budget was not a guarantee to free, fair and credible election anywhere in the world.
“Civil Society finds it very scandalous that the source of funding for the 2019 election is being delayed by political gimmicks.
“The time for this election has been made known since 2015 and specific dates known since January 2018 and all we see has been the politics of horse trading and blackmail between the executive arm and the legislature.
“While it is alarming that it has taken the executive so long to send the request for approval of the budget of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) election budget, it is disappointing that it took pleadings and public outcry for the National Assembly to consider this as a matter of national importance, thereby creating avoidable heating up the polity.
“Furthermore, we consider the proposed budget size of N242 Billion for election curiously high coming from a government that professes prudence in spending and cutting the cost of governance. We expect that the National Assembly would prioritise the scrutiny of this proposal to ensure that duplications and wastages are addressed,” he stated.