Ten days to the February 25 presidential and National Assembly election, cash for the mobilisation of ad-hoc staff for the polls is yet to be made available to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Daily Trust reports.
Nigerians have been battling with the scarcity of naira notes following the redesign of N200, N500 and N1000 notes by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court will today continue hearing the suits by three state governments challenging the implementation of the currency swap deadline.
The Supreme Court had on February 8 restrained the federal government from enforcing the cash swap deadline of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) following the suit by the governments of Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara states challenging the currency policy.
The Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, had penultimate Tuesday met with the governor of the CBN, Godwin Emefiele, where he requested concessions regarding the naira redesign policy with specific reference to the limitations placed on cash withdrawals and the need to make some cash available for some peculiarities that cannot be met with electronics transfer of monies.
Emefiele had while responding, said he would ensure the CBN is not seen as an agent used to thwart the forthcoming general election, assuring that the apex bank would provide INEC needed naira notes as required.
But, an indication emerged that the new notes have not been made available to the electoral body ahead of the election when the Resident Electoral Commissioner for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Alhaji Yahaya Bello, raised the issue.
Bello said the ability of the INEC to conduct the general election may be hampered by the CBN’s cashless policy.
Speaking in Abuja at the North-Central stakeholders’ roundtable on the 2023 general elections, organised by the Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA), he said the commission needs cash to enable it to coordinate security and logistics, and that the scarcity of the naira may affect this.
He said that if nothing was done to address the cash crunch caused by the policies, INEC in the FCT and across the country would find it difficult to deploy staff and materials for the election as most of the services required cash to obtain.
He, however, said that apart from the cash challenge, the commission was prepared for the elections as it had taken delivery of 80 per cent of materials for the polls and trained staff ahead of the February 25 and March 11 elections.