The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared that electronic voting machines will be deployed during the 2021 Anambra State governorship election.

This was made known on Wednesday in Abuja by the Chairman of INEC Professor Mahmood Yakubu during an interview with newsmen moments after appearing before the House of Representatives Committee on INEC to defend the commission’s 2021 budget.

“It is difficult to give you an idea of cost or when the process would be concluded, but we are determined that we are going to deploy electronic voting machines, electronic balloting machines very soon in our elections.

“Possibly beginning with the Anambra governorship election next year,” he said.

Earlier, Yakubu had told the members of the committee that the budget of the commission had continued to decline over the years.

He recalled that in 2019, the envelop for INEC was N45.5 billion while for 2020, the envelop was N40 billion. The chairman said that as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the budget further dropped to N36 billion.

“As a result, the commission decided to look inward, we have the INEC fund established under Section 3 of the INEC Act where we have some savings from previous budgets because we are not expected to remit unspent funds.

“We are on the first line charge and because of the peculiarities of our work, it is in the realisation of this that the parliament in amending the Electoral Act introduced the INEC fund for a number of reasons.

“One, that we cannot be truly independent if we are not financially independent, secondly, there are so many commitments that arise in the middle of a financial year and we cannot meet these obligations except some source of funding.

“So many by-elections had risen unforeseen, and the constitution has prescribed time limits for conducting such elections.

“For example, if constituents decide to call back a member, this is not what you can project at the beginning of a fiscal year, so we have the fund, established since 2010 and we have been growing it since then,” he said.


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