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Elections: NASS to increase amount spent by presidential candidates to N10bn

The National Assembly has proposed an increase in the amount spent by presidential candidates seeking public positions in the country to N10 billion.

The Joint Senate and House of Representatives Committees on the Independent National Electoral Commission and Electoral Matters also sought to extend the tenure of Local Government Chairmen in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) from three years to four years.

The proposals are contained in recommended amendments to the Electoral Act, which the committee is preparing to submit before Senators and House of Representative members for consideration and approval later this month. Other elected officials of the six area councils which make up the FCT would equally benefit from the proposed amendment.

Speaking to newsmen on Wednesday, the Chairman, Senate Committee on INEC, Kabiru Gaya, said, “Since the National Assembly legislate on the Federal Capital Territory, we amended the tenure of the local government chairmen within the FCT.

“We believe that if we leave a chairman to serve for three years, they cannot record any concrete achievement.

“They would be undergoing the learning process in their first year and start implementing their own projects in the second year, while they will be preparing for elections in the third year. This means that they have just one year to really work effectively.

“However, if we increase their tenure to four years, they will have two out of the four years to work. That is why we have proposed that the tenure for local government chairmen should be increased to four years.

“We are therefore appealing to all the governors to comply with the new provisions because we don’t have the powers over them. We can only appeal to them.”

Gaya also revealed that the panel equally proposed an increase in the amount to be spent by candidates seeking elective public office.

“We looked at the current situation and we have come to a conclusion that someone contesting election as president of Nigeria should spend more than N5bn.

“We have recommended N10bn for the Presidential candidate while the amount that could be spent by those contesting elections as governors and legislators have also been reviewed upward.

“On personal donations to presidential candidates, we have recommended that an individual could donate up to N10m for a candidate either for the presidential or governorship election because the current N1m benchmark is no longer realistic,” he said.