With just 10 days away, The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said non availability of the new naira notes may affect the conduct of the general elections.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner for the Federal Capital Territory, Yahaya Bello, raised this concern during the North-Central stakeholders round-table meeting on the 2023 election, organised by the Centre for Transparency Advocacy.
Bello warned that if nothing was done to address the cash crunch caused by the policies, it would be difficult to deploy staff and materials for the election, fueling speculations that the elections may be postponed.
Also, you will not take a security person to a polling unit from morning till evening without giving him money to eat and I don’t think you expect him to go to the POS to withdraw the N1,000 you are going to give him
He said the commission needs cash to enable it to coordinate security and logistics, and that the scarcity of the naira may affect this.
“Before election day, we are going to deploy the service providers. On the night of Friday (the day before the election) in the FCT, we have more than 12, 000 ad-hoc staff that we are going to give cash to.
“None of them will receive a cheque or accept a transfer. I am talking about FCT (12,000), which will require about N5,000 (each) cash on Friday night. Also, those who are going to transport our men, materials and security to the polling units will need cash to do that.
“Also, you will not take a security person to a polling unit from morning till evening without giving him money to eat and I don’t think you expect him to go to the POS to withdraw the N1,000 you are going to give him,” he said.
He, however, said that INEC was in discussions with the CBN to see how the problem could be addressed.
He said, “This policy does not affect only INEC FCT in particular. It is going to affect the whole commission nationwide. So, the chairman of the commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu met with the CBN governor, they also consulted and briefed the National Council of States and the Presidency.
“This is an issue that is being tackled at the highest level because it affects the whole election generally. For now, we are going to wait for the outcome of the negotiations and discussions that are ongoing. So that we will know exactly what is going on.”