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RipplesMetrics: 2023 elections set to be Nigeria’s most expensive, as INEC increases spending plan by N104bn



RipplesMetrics: 2023 elections set to be Nigeria’s most expensive, as INEC increases spending plan by N104bn

The 2023 general elections are set to be Nigeria’s most expensive polls in history.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has earmarked to spend N239 billion for conduct of 2023 general elections, this is higher than N188.93 in 2019, N116.40 billion in 2015, and N139.19 billion in 2011.

According to INEC, the N239.2 billion would be spent on 10 critical items which include ballot papers, operational vehicles, ballot boxes, allowances of ad hoc workers, printing of result sheets, logistics and procurement of accreditation devices.

Also included in the N239.2bn budget is the N27.1bn set aside by the commission for possible run-off elections, including the one for the presidential poll.

A breakdown of the document, 2023 General Election Project Plan, shows that the highest single component will be the procurement of accreditation devices which will gulp N105.2bn. This also constitutes 34.51 per cent of the total election budget of N305bn.

The allowance for ad hoc workers, who will be more than one million people, is pegged at N23.7bn while N23bn was set aside for election logistics expenses which include the movement, deployment and retrieval of men and materials for the elections.

Rise and rise of elections cost

RipplesMetrics: 2023 elections set to be Nigeria’s most expensive, as INEC increases spending plan by N104bn

The cost of elections has been rising since the country’s return to democracy in 1999.
INEC’s statutory allocations, gleaned from documents at the Budget office, show that in 19 years (1999 to 2018) the commission received N730.99 billion.

However, in four years (2019- 2022) INEC has received N341.04 billion statutory allocation, almost half of what it received in 19 years.
This money does not include other allocations for the conduct of elections and also donation expected from international organizations.


Mahmood Yakubu, INEC Chairman, in a recent stakeholders’ summit in Abuja, said it was expecting 100 million voters for the 2023 election, up from 85 million during 2019.

He stressed that while 119, 973 polling units existed in 2019, the next elections would have 176, 846 polling units.

“We would need more money because we’ve expanded our polling units and we are introducing new technology for elections among many other new innovations.

Read also: RipplesMetrics: Data show seven-year salary of some APC aspirants can’t buy N100m nomination form

“The number of registered voters will increase beyond the 84 million for the 2019 general elections,” Yakubu said.

Nigeria to spend more than India, UK

Nigeria’s elections cost higher than the $600m the Electoral Commission of India (ECI) spent during the 2014 general elections in which 553.8m people voted out of 815m registered voters.

The cost of conducting elections in Nigeria is also higher than those of bigger economies such as Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia.

While Nigeria is planning to spend N239.2 billion($580.5 million), Canada, for instance, spent $375m on electoral expenditure where 17.5m voted.

The United Kingdom spent £113m during its 2010 parliamentary elections in which 45.6m voted. £28.6m was the cost of distributing candidates’ mailings, and £84.6m for the conduct of the poll.

Kenya, with 14.3m registered voters, spent $427m during its general elections in 2012 and $499m in 2017, while Australia, with 14.7m voters, spent $197.6m for the House of Representatives and half of Senate elections in 2013.

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