The Independent National Electoral Commission on Thursday berated political parties for abandoning their agents during the 2019 General Elections.
The electoral body said some of the agents had to compromise because they were hungry.
Making this known, the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Niger State, Prof. Sam Egwu, said the cost of democracy in Nigeria is too high.
According to him: “Most political parties could not afford to even feed their agents during the 2019 General Elections.”
Prof. Egwu said in Minna at the 2019 General Elections Report Presentation organised by the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Information Chapel that most of the political parties don’t know their manifestos and so did not have anything to offer.
The Resident Commissioner while disclosing that the INEC in Niger State uploaded all results to the INEC Headquarters within 72 hours after the elections, said: “Every information you want as regards the General Elections are readily available”.
“We should think of the costings for elections in Nigeria.
“It is a very big issue; we put so much in the elections, so much that we usually don’t have enough left for service delivery.
“The cost of printing ballot paper is too much and almost equivalent to that of printing money.
“We pay so much because of lack of trust.
“We need to be transparent and open so that the people can trust us.
“No democracy can thrive without the middle class.”
Furthermore, Egwu lambasted the attitude of most politicians who believe they can always buy their way, adding: “Politicians are very terrible and desperate.
“They want to pay for everything.
“They don’t want to follow the due and right process.”
Presenting the report, the initiator, Comrade Mohammed Mohammed, said: “Some of the Political Party Agents complained that they didn’t have any form of synergy with their parties.
“They need capacity building, monitoring and most of them lacked knowledge of elections.”
Also in his remarks, the State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Danjuma Salau, called for a cut down in the cost of elections and governance in the country.
According to Salau: “The interest of the country must be first in our hearts; the cost of elections is very vital, it should be cut down.
“We should consider that some things are not necessary.
“Why should we be printing our ballot papers abroad when the cost is too high?
“We can also reduce the cost of governance so that the masses can also benefit in terms of development.
“When there is trust, there won’t be need for vote buying.”