We hope this will not be an excuse for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to fail Nigerians during the 2019 general elections.

With 172 days to the 2019 polls, the National Assembly Joint Committee on INEC has rejected the proposed budget of N189 billion.

They want the electoral body to revert to the initial N143 billion earlier submitted by President Mohammadu Buhari.

The lawmakers stated this on Monday in Abuja after a closed-door meeting of the Joint Committee chaired by Senator Suleiman Nazif.

Nazif, who read out the resolution of the Joint Committee to newsmen, urged the Commission to re-present its budget based on N143 billion on Tuesday, August 28 by 1pm.

At a budget defence session a two weeks earlier, the Senate Committee on INEC had queried the conflicting figures presented by the Commission and President Buhari on the 2019 elections budget. 

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While Yakubu had told the joint committee that the sum N189 billion should be approved in one fell swoop, Buhari on his letter dated July 17, 2018 asked lawmakers to approve the amount in two tranches: N143,512,529,455 in 2018 and the balance of N45,695,015,438 for 2019. 

It was observed at the last meeting that while PDP lawmakers were in support of the President's position, APC legislators threw their weight behind Yakubu's proposal. 

Addressing journalists after a closed-door session which lasted for 30 minutes, Nazif said: "The joint committee has sat and has deliberated the position to adopt the N143 billion as presented by Mr. President.

“At this point in time it is also the wish of this committee that INEC represents their budget of N143 billion as requested by Mr. President. 

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"Therefore, INEC has an opportunity to reprioritize and this committee will be ready to receive them. 

"This committee will be reconvening tomorrow (Tuesday) by 1pm so that we can consider the presentation by INEC". 

Breakdown of the Commission's earlier N189 billion proposal include: Election Operational Cost N134.4 billion, Election Technological Cost N27.5 billion, Election Administrative Cost N22.6billion and Miscellaneous Expenses N4.6 billion. 

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