Nigeria`s voter registration is world`s most expensive

Lower house has agreed to a spending plan of $585 mn for Presidential polls.

Last Updated: Aug 13, 2010, 10:33 AM IST

Abuja: The lower house of Nigeria`s Parliament on Thursday agreed to a spending plan of USD 585 million for the country`s Presidential Elections, making the process the most expensive by the global average.

The oil rich African country`s President Goodluck Jonathan will now endorse the budget as the Senate had accepted the plan earlier.

However, this financial plan has been criticised by some section of the media here with the Nigerian Enquirer quoting India`s former chief election commissioner Krishna Murthy as stating that the cost of voter registration is USD 0.62 per voter.

They argue that this amount is over 10 times a lesser amount than that of Nigeria.

The country`s Constitution was amended last month to advance the elections from April to January and the President is expected to declare his candidacy for the presidency.

Jonathan removed controversial INEC chairman Professor Maurice Iwu who was said to have encouraged rigging and appointed radical university Professor Attahiru Jega to head the commission.

The INEC yesterday said there are no guidelines for the election until a new electoral act is promulgated.

It, however, said that the certification of the Voters Register should be concluded by December 09, in time for the elections expected to hold in January.

INEC said: "The election timetable/guidelines are statutorily dependent on provisions of the Electoral Act, which is yet in the legislative mill.”

"The Commission hereby reassures the public that immediately the Electoral Act which stipulates the time frame for the electoral process is signed into law by the President, it will issue the necessary timetable/guidelines for the upcoming elections."

Nigeria, the most populous African nation with 150 million people, returned to democracy by maintaining the presidential system in 1999 after some years of military interference in politics.

The return was marred by a power struggle between the north with a large Muslim population and the South with a Christian majority.