Commission to engage Federal Government and National Assembly for more funds.
The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Attahiru Jega,on Wednesday, decried the insufficient funds available to the Commission for its activities. He also lamented the working conditions and emoluments of the agency’s staff.
Mr. Jega, who spoke in Abuja at the third quarterly meeting with the Resident Electoral Commissioners, REC, of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, said the commission was confronted with many challenges but had inadequate monetary allocation to meet the challenges.
He pleaded with the commissioners to bear with the headquarters, assuring that it would continue to engage the executive and legislative arms of government with a view to securing more funds for its activities.
INEC, which is on first line charge, was allocated N32 billion in the current 2013 Budget.
“As you are aware we are doing our best to improve the working environment in the states, local government areas and even at the national level,” Mr. Jega told his state commissioners.
“And it is a very challenging task indeed because a lot of the things that we have to do require funds and budgetary provisions and regrettably we do not always get what we believe we need to be able address some of these challenges.
“So please bear with us as we continue to engage government and the legislators to have more resources to be able to improve our working conditions, improve our emoluments and other needs which will ensure us to do our jobs even much better with greater satisfaction.”
While forewarning the RECs to expect all sorts of attacks and challenges from politicians in the build up to the 2015 general elections, the INEC Chairman insisted that they (RECs) must be firm and be guided by the law in taking decisions.
He said, “There is no doubt that as we inch along and get closer to 2015, the work load on us increases the pressure increases. We will come under all sorts of attacks and challenges from the gladiators in the arena.
“The key challenge for all of us is to remain focused on what is to be done, to operate within the law and ensure that we are impartial, non partisan and we are fully compliant with the legal framework.
“With the kind of environment that we operate we will not please everybody. When you take a decision one side is happy and the other side is not happy.
“And in our own country where people are not happy they more or less lose their senses and they do all sorts of things throw all sorts of insults. And in fact often display a tendency of throwing the baby with the bath water. So that is the nature of our political terrain.”
Mr. Jega, however, praised the commissioners for devoting a lot energy in their work and asked them to “discharge these responsibilities creditably and you have been doing your best for the commission and for the country. May God Almighty continue to assist you as we try to make 2015 much better than 2011.”
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