2019: NASS Has No Business Rescheduling Election Dates – Rafsanjani
Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) Musa Rafsanjani, says the National Assembly has no business with rescheduling election dates already set by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
He said this during an interview on Channels Television’s Question Time while discussing the timetable for the 2019 general elections.
Last week, members of the House of Representatives, reached a resolution to reschedule the election dates so as to make the Presidential election come last rather than first as has always been the case.
This according to the lawmakers was because in the past, after the presidential elections, which normally came first, most of the electorates become reluctant to vote in the remaining elections.
A member of the Senate who appeared last week on Politics Today also defended the development.
He explained that it would give some old political parties an equal opportunity to test their electoral value; as there had been complaints that the old order had not been able to provide a level and fair playing ground for them.
Rafsanjani however, quoted the Nigerian constitution, stating that it clearly outlined the roles and responsibilities of the lawmakers.
According to him “it also spells out the roles and responsibilities of what our electoral body will do so setting out dates for elections has no business with the National Assembly,” he stressed.
Furthermore, he described any attempts to tamper with the schedules already set out by the electoral body, as disregard.
“They have the responsibility to make laws for how the election and electoral process will be but it is the responsibility of INEC to set out the timetable and guidelines on how this will be. Any attempt to tamper with that by any member of the National Assembly is disregarding the law.”
Addressing the issue of irregularities with the annual budget, and curbing corruption, Rafsanjani said “it is the role of the National Assembly to scrutinise every budget proposal that the executive sends. They have the power to eliminate anything that is not in tandem with the law.
“All Nigerians must contribute to individually to eliminating corruption from the country.
“If we think that it is the job of one person or institution, it will not work.
“That is why we are advocating the adoption of the National Strategic Plan Against Corruption that will involve everybody.”