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‘I spent over N70m to contest’ — reps spokesman defends review of expenses in electoral bill

 

Benjamin Kalu, spokesman of the house of representatives, has defended the decision to review the limitation on election expenses in the recently-passed electoral amendment bill.

 

The senate and the house of assembly, at separate sessions last week, passed the electoral act amendment bill.

 

Lawmakers increased the spending limit prior to the passing of the bill, and the decision of the national assembly had sparked criticism.

 

In the final version of the bill laid before the national assembly before it was passed, the lawmakers proposed N5 billion for presidential candidates, and N1 billion for those contesting for governorship, while candidates for senate and house of representatives have a spending limit of N100 million and N70 million, respectively.

Speaking when he featured on Good Morning Nigeria, a programme on the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), on Monday, Kalu said the lawmakers were realistic in their decision to review the spending limit.

 

He said he spent beyond the stipulated N70 million during the previous election, adding that the current economic realities are different from what obtained in previous elections.

 

“As you know, the issue of the amount of money that is going to be spent by people who are vying for one position or the other has been given a cap,” he said.

 

“I saw N70 million there for the house of reps, and I know I spent more than N70 million when I contested for my election. I spent way beyond that.

 

“The question has always been that many complain that the amount for governor is much; the amount for president is much. What people don’t know is that this is the cap — it’s not the minimum. It means anything from one naira to that, but don’t go beyond it. It’s important for Nigerians to know this.

 

“But in reality, you find out that those who are questioning it are not addressing their minds to the times that we are in — with the inflation rates, what our currency is doing in the market at the moment, the affordability. What we could do before now with less amount, we can’t do that with more currently.

 

“It’s the same way all over the world. There is a sociological reason for doing that — so that positions won’t be reserved for the richest.”

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