The news that the Central Bank of Nigeria has made cash available to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, for its election logistics is gratifying.
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmud Yakubu, was reported to have said during a visit to the CBN Governor, that they needed cash rather than bank transfers to sort out many of their activities during the elections.
It is commendable that the CBN Governor appreciated the need for INEC to have access to cash for the purpose of the election.
It is a demonstration of a sense of political reality. However, this is how far the commendation can go. If the CBN accepts that INEC needs cash for its election logistics, why would it shut its eyes to the needs of the political Parties for cash for their own election logistics? After all, the INEC is not organizing the elections for itself. No. The elections being organized by INEC are to be contested by the Political Parties. For example, there are over 176,000 polling units, over 8000 Ward Collation Centres, 774 Local Government Collation Centres, and 36 State Collation Centres in the country. The Political Parties are required to post agents to each of these centres across the country. Some Parties post more than one agent to a centre. Do they not need cash for their logistics?
The CBN would appear to be playing the game of a political ostrich engaging in political pettifogging by making cash available to INEC for election logistics while denying the Political Parties access to cash for their own election logistics. Are we not cutting our noses to spite our faces?
It is hoped that the CBN will realize its mistake on this matter, make amends and not allow this type of egregious policy to occur in future elections.
Dated this 22nd day of February 2023.
TAYO OYETIBO, SAN, FCIArb, FNIALS.