Most Rev Bishop Matthew Kukah of the Sokoto Catholic Archdiocese has sent a message to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) ahead of elections in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi states.
The convener of the National Peace Committee warned INEC not to complain about the lack of resources ahead of the November 11 off-cycle elections.
Kukah, while speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Wednesday, said the substantial funds have been budgeted for the elections and INEC should not be experiencing resource insufficiency.
“We cannot spend the time in the classroom; we must graduate to a new class of consciousness. Nigeria must take full responsibility for how these processes are conducted.
“There is a size of this country and limited resources but INEC can no longer complain about lack of resources because we hear of the hundreds of billions that are being spent on INEC,” he said.
In December 2021, the Commission said it would require N305 billion to conduct the 2023 general elections.
The required funds were eventually approved by the National Assembly.
The electoral umpire will also get an additional N18bn for the conduct of the forthcoming Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi governorship elections.
In October, the Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Atiku Bagudu, claimed the N18 billion for the conduct of the Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi governorship elections will be derived from the N2.1 trillion 2023 supplementary budget.
INEC had introduced biometric technology and IReV, a Central Database for uploading results in real-time, to ensure transparency.
The commission acknowledged unplanned glitches but dismissed claims that the vote was not free and fair.
Many Nigerians on the other hand, have criticised the technical problems and delays in uploading results, which they claim allowed opportunities for vote manipulation.
However, Bishop Kukah insists Nigerians need to take full responsibility for how electoral processes are conducted while INEC must reach a point where it is not anxious every election season.
“People must also get to a point in which INEC will not have anxiety every time they are about to conduct elections.”
He noted that to pave the way for a better future, errors of the past must be addressed.
“INEC took the heat; it’s having a legitimacy crisis; it’s having a confidence and trust crisis. We must also understand that at least the sins of yesterday have to be cured so that tomorrow can be better,” he said.
Kukah highlighted that trust is essential in the conduct of elections and institutions entrusted with this responsibility should function in a way that commands respect.
“It’s about trust, but we fail to trust ourselves to deploy trust to institutions and those who run those institutions, but they must also function in a way and manner that commands respect,” he said.
He called for greater focus on national issues and improving institutions in the country in light of the 2023 electoral process.