The Independent National Electoral Commission has said the military will not be involved in election duties in 2019.
The INEC boss said this in an interview with a monthly magazine, The Interview.
Yakubu said the police would be the lead agency while the military would ‘form the outer core.’
He said, “The lead agency in election security is the Nigeria Police. But the Nigeria Police is also empowered where it deems it necessary a call on the support of other security agencies. So, we are operating on a concentric cycle sort of mechanism.
“We have the inner core around the polling units, where you have unarmed policemen. You have the central ring where you have armed policemen that can be called in to assist in the polling units when the need arises.
“And then you have the military in the outer cordon. I think that has been the mechanism that has worked. I have had no problem with that and will retain that. But the military will never be involved in election duty similar to what happened in elections before 2015.”
Yakubu also said that the commission could not hold the continuous voter registration at the polling unit levels because it would cost N1.2bn per day, the total amount approved for the entire exercise.
He regretted that N1.2bn was what was approved for INEC in the 2017 Budget for the entire exercise for a year.
He explained that due to financial constraints, the commission decided to move the registration of voters to the local government level, which slowed down the process of registration and caused queues at the centres nationwide.
Yakubu said, “At what level can we best register citizens? We said the polling units because these are the closest points to the voters. They are literally at the doorsteps of citizens. With 120,000 polling units nationwide and on the basis of the four officials we deploy to each registration centre, we came to the conclusion that we required 620, 000 ad hoc workers.
“Can we engage 620, 000 ad hoc workers all year round? Assuming that each one of them is paid N1, 500 for transportation and feeding, that will cost the nation N1.2bn everyday in ad hoc workers’ allowances alone. By the time you add cost of the Direct Data Capture machines, your security, the generators and the fuelling and servicing of the generators, the consumables from ink to paper, the cost for the take-off of the exercise came to N131bn.”
Yakubu said when the registration was brought to the local government level, many people complained about the pace of registration.
Yakubu also attributed the rush at the registration centres partly to the rumour on the social media that INEC would soon suspend registration.
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