REPORTAGE …………

by muhammad muhammad

Honourable Danjuma Sallau, Honourable Commissioner of Information and Strategy propounded that cost of Governance is the bedrock that has bedeviled our cost of election in Nigeria, while Professor Samuel Egwu, Resident Electoral Commissioner, Independent National Electoral Commission Niger State propounded that cost of election have over-stretch the commission beyond it reach.

COST OF GOVERNANCE VS COST OF ELECTION……………………
Honourable Commissioner, Niger State Ministry of Information and Strategy, Honourable Danjuma Sallau confirmed during the comprehensive report presentation of 2019 general election in Nigeria which was organized by the Information Ministry, said that cost of governance has increased over the decades since the country return to democratic rule.

Honourable Sallau stated that when Governor Abubakar Sani Bello was sworn-in 2015, he embarked on cutting the cost of governance by trimming down the number of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA’s) in the state, the information Commissioner said the allocations to this MDA’s in term of overhead and impress were also cut down in order to effect the change mantra of the present administration.

Honourable Sallau stressed out that the 2019 general election report in Niger State is a foresight that can be used not only by policy makers but by academics and researchers, he said the election exercise in the State is peaceful and has not created any disunity; the Commissioner stated that people must act responsibly in order not to jeopardize the national cohesion and integration that had existed among the ethnic, tribal and religious divide.

He charged politicians to handle national issues technically and should guide their utterances through patriotism; Honourable Sallau therefore propounded that cost of governance should be cut down by structural adjustment of elected offices as agitated by some quota for unicameral instead of bicameral system. The Information Commissioner said Governor Abubakar Sani Bello is a strong supporter of cutting the cost of governance, he stated that by so doing resources can now be channel towards developing the rural areas.

Honourable Danjuma Sallau finally affirmed that he is in tandem with the Resident Electoral Commissioner of INEC to sensitize and carry out electoral enlightenment to communities that are resisting card reader machine for their accreditation and authentication as a bridge of trust. The Commissioner said trust must be uphold and safeguarded in order to eradicate politics of bitterness.

COMMUNITY RESISTANCE AND COST OF ELECTION……………….
Resident Electoral Commissioner, Independent National Electoral Commission, Professor Samuel Egwu confirmed that the 2019 election is a referendum by Niger State voters, the REC who spoke during the Report presentation of 2019 general election organized by Ministry of Information and Strategy said community must start to embrace the electoral processes in order to have value for the money spend on electoral exercise.

Professor Egwu when addressing issues raised by the report on malfunction smart card reader, confirmed that it was not just the machine that malfunction but the resistance of some communities not use the smart card reader, he said such act has truncated the effort of the commission to carry out effective accreditation in the affected communities.

He said quality, specification and standards are ingredients for incurring election cost in Nigeria, the REC stated that ballot papers must be printed to currency standard, specification and quality in order to secured it from counterfeiting of fake ballot papers, Professor Egwu highlighted that issues raised in the presentation on security personnel having no knowledge of electoral technicality might be contrary views from other opinion, he reiterated that adequate training and induction were given by INEC to securities.

Professor Egwu also reaffirmed that he is of the view that political party agents must be properly train or oriented as propounded by the report, he stressed that a strong and viable parties must be built so as to eradicate disarray and malfunction party in the country. Professor Egwu described electoral transportation as raised by the report as one of the major problem the commission has to tackled to avoid any hitch, he said the transport vendors situation is a manifest of the economic predicament of the country.

The REC challenged the security agencies to brace-up to their responsibility in tackling insecurity in hotspot and flashpoint areas were election was conducted with rancor, Professor Egwu said the report highlight on hotspots and flashpoint are responsibility of security in conjunction with the commission to address those areas just as is done with kidnapping and banditry to eradicate it. He finally commended the report as a reference to any future election in Niger State.

2019 General Election comprehensive report analysis and evaluation was compiled by information officers of Niger State Ministry of Information and Strategy during the Presidential, National Assembly, Gubernatorial and State Assembly Election, 25 information officers were engaged in monitoring and observation of the exercise in the state.

Hassan Usman Author

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