Published On: Sun, Aug 19th, 2018

Rising electoral burden on the economy

Without doubt, INEC budget for the 2019 general elections should raise serious cause for concern for the future of democracy in the country. With a proposal of N248 billion, including security, for the polls, there are questions about its sustainability given the fragile and oil dependent nature of the economy.   

Although the actual budget for INEC operations is N189 billion, an increase of over N70 billion from the 2015 elections, Nigerians should be agitated on the rising cost of elections in the country. At this rate of increase, the next in 2023 may see the nation spending half a trillion on polls. President Buhari’s proposal to the NASS was N143 billion.

And this does not include the losses incurred by the economy on the shut down during the polls. One estimate suggests that the economy loses over $1 billion each day the economy is grounded as during and strikes.

This is not good enough. The immediate question is: can Nigeria afford such a cost in view of the struggle to meet revenue pressures for capital expenditure and social welfare. How would the nation cope were elections to fall in a year of low oil price and government revenue?

It seems to this newspaper that our leaders do not have any deep thought for the future of their policies and actions, because we have made our elections one of the major booby traps for our democracy.

Arguably, democracy in the country is facing an endless catalogue of serious challenges and unless our leaders admit such and embark on concerted effort to salvage it, the future may remain uncertain and even bleak. Every other challenge such vote buying, unbridle appetite to own parties which now stand at 91, and desperation for power pales into insignificance compared with the cost of conducting elections.

In an economy that is just exiting recession and unable to fund needed capital projects, it is senseless and unconscionable to expend this humongous amount on elections, which may have little bearing on the lives of people. Generally in this country, elections have become rituals for the political class to entrench their positions of power rather than effect necessary changes in the social and economic wellbeing of the masses.

Elections are indispensable to democracy as a means of regenerating and renewal of leadership for the interest of the people. It is also to ensure that no leadership or party becomes complacent and indulgent enough to ignore the mandate and interest of the people. It presupposes the existence of viable options and alternatives between leaders and parties. The essence is to ensure competition and variety.

Unfortunately for us, this is not exactly the case, except in the First republic when ideologically different parties existed and held sway in the regions. The outcome was the massive development drive through competition in the regions. However, this is no longer the case especially with the merger of the ultra conservative Congress for Progressive Change and the progressive Action Congress to form the APC.

Admittedly, such amorphous fusion did not begin with the APC; but it is the climax and consolidation of the selfish and purposeless party leadership that has been imposed on the country’s politics with all the politicians crisscrossing from one party to another to continue in power.

Also the do or die nature of election clearly vitiates is political relevance and public accountability, as elections are usually marred and hardly free and fair and do not reflect the electoral ability of candidates. So, with the loss of its significance, elections have become ‘necessary evils’ that come every four years without appreciable improvement either in its conduct or the welfare of the people.

Therefore, to devote a whooping sum of N248 billion for the upcoming polls is scandalous and portrays the country as unserious toward social and economic development.

Particularly vexatious was the registration of 40 new parties increasing the number of political parties to 91. According to INEC, this is one of the elements responsible for the high cost. But beside this the N6 billion and N2 billion etc budgeted for Police and Immigration service for the election to say the least is dubious. Why should extra budget be made for them by INEC when their respective budgets could have easily accommodated such extraordinary expenditure? It could lead to double budgeting and corruption.

It appears to this newspaper that everything about this country and its democracy is tailored to failure ultimately. As a developing country, Nigeria should evolve a system that is consistent with its income and development capacity. Other nations are rigorously looking for ways to reduce the cost of governance; but the reverse is the case with us. The issue of constitutional review has been so flippantly treated without regard to its consequences.

The NASS should wake up to its constitutional responsibility to save this democracy and the nation. Without reducing the cost of governance, this paper believes the future is bleak. Because with population growing faster than GDP, and recurrent expenditure including cost of election rising, with little for capital expenditure, the challenges of development and social welfare will become more and more acute. This can only be a recipe for disaster.

© 2018, Hallmarknews. All rights reserved. Reference and link to this site is required if you wish to reuse any article.

Reactions from Facebook

comments and opinions

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Most Shared

Recent posts

  • Modric defeats Ronaldo, Salah to emerge FIFA’s Footballer of the Year 2018

    Real Madrid and Croatia midfielder Luka Modric has been named the Best Men’s Player at The Best FIFA Football Awards on Monday evening, fighting off competition from fellow nominees Cristiano Ronaldo and Mohamed Salah. The award caps off an incredible year for Modric, who won his fourth Champions League title with Real Madrid in May, […]

  • Nigerian bond market witnesses low demand

    A slowdown in client demand characterizes the bond market on Monday, unlike sentiments witnessed for the most part of last week. This is on the back of expected renewed supply at the bond auction on Wednesday, where the Debt Management Office (DMO) would raise a total of N90billion from the 2023, 2025 and 2028 maturities. […]

  • Oil price climbs to four-year high as Saudi, Russia turn Trump down

    Oil prices have hit a four-year high of over $81 a barrel after Saudi Arabia and Russia rejected calls by Donald Trump to increase production. Brent crude hit its highest level since November 2014 at $81.16 a barrel, up 3 per cent on the day. Saudi Arabia led the c oil cartel, while Russia is […]

  • Buhari releases N22bn to Nigerian Airways retirees

    The Federal Government has released N22.68 billion to settle part of the retirement benefits of former workers of the defunct Nigeria Airways. The government has also approved the release of N20 billion to revitalise public universities in line with demands of the Academic Staff of Universities (ASUU). Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, made the disclosure […]

  • MPC set for another policy freeze

    By FELIX OLOYEDE Despite the outcry for lower domestic interest rates, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is expected to leave the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) at 14 per cent as it responds to inflation jitters ahead of the 2019 general elections, say economists. The MPC meeting schedule to hold today, Monday 24th 2018 and Tuesday […]

  • Ambode fights for his political life

    By OBINNA EZUGWU It is no longer news; the political love affair in Lagos state is in trouble. For the first time since 1999, a sitting governor is facing a real challenge from his own party for the ticket. The indignity can only be imagined and its implications continue to reverberate across the state and […]

  • Adeosun: Betrayed by a dysfunctional system (Editorial)

    A fortnight ago, former Finance Minister Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, resigned her position following the report of an investigative panel into allegations of NYSC certificate forgery against her. The allegation had been earlier made by an online newspaper, Premium Times, and the nation was agog with speculations about it. Her resignation has been interpreted by most […]

  • High cost of Nomination Forms: A conspiracy against the youths

    From PETER OKORE, Umuahia Amidst the mixed feelings trailing the high cost of Nomination Forms for interested candidates to participate in the 2019 general elections, there is growing consensus for the electorate should go for credible candidates rather than political parties in order to achieve desired results. This is because since some political parties in the […]

  • Govt bottlenecks still inhibiting agric business– Farmfields CEO

    Mr. Zanau Hassan Maikasuwa is the CEO of Farmfields Agro-allied Services, an agro-allied consulting and supply firm located in Jalingo, Taraba State. He is an ardent agricultural expert and a strong believer of improving agricultural methods for an improved and more rewarding agricultural sector in Nigeria. In this interview with BLESSING PETER, he assessed the […]

  • China and Nigeria’s debt burden

    By AYOOLA OLAOLUWA Experts have raised the alarm over the continued foray of Chinese businesses and massive funds into Nigeria, saying it portend danger for the country. They argued that the nation risk falling into debt trap, joblessness, among other costs, as is being experienced by several Africans countries. Available data indicate that apart from the […]

  • New Banks fight for survival 

    By OKEY ONYENWEAKU A clutch of new financial institutions are beginning to slowly appear on Nigeria’s banking scene as the once fragile economy wriggles out of a recession that held sway between the middle of 2015 and the second quarter of 2017. The renewed institutional confidence in the economy (which has grown more recently at […]

  • Gov poll: Stalemate in Osun as APC, PDP live to fight another day

    The Independent National Electoral Commission on Sunday declared the Osun State governorship election inconclusive. The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Ademola Adeleke, had polled 254,698 votes against that of the All Progressives Congress, Gboyega Oyetola, who polled 254,345 votes. However, due to irregularities which marred the election at some polling units in Ife North, […]

  • Ambode fights for his political life

    By OBINNA EZUGWU It is no longer news; the political love affair in Lagos state is in trouble. For the first time since 1999, a sitting governor is facing a real challenge from his own party for the ticket. The indignity can only be imagined and its implications continue to reverberate across the state and […]

  • Business Hallmark Cover Page for this week

    © 2018, Hallmarknews. All rights reserved. Reference and link to this site is required if you wish to reuse any article. Reactions from Facebook comments and opinions

  • Customers fret over Skye Bank’s demise

    By Okey Onyenweaku There was subdued anxiety within the finance circles throughout the weekend over the collapse of Skye Bank plc. The sudden demise of the stricken lender, caught many industry stakeholders napping. However, usually reliable sources confirmed to Business Hallmark that the move had long been anticipated and was carefully managed to protect depositors […]

  • Cover

    © 2018, Hallmarknews. All rights reserved. Reference and link to this site is required if you wish to reuse any article. Reactions from Facebook comments and opinions