2019 Polls: Jega Faults National Assembly Over Election Sequence
Former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, has faulted the power of the National Assembly to alter the sequence in which elections are conducted.
The immediate past INEC boss faulted the lawmakers’ move on Thursday while speaking at an event organised by the Youth Initiative for Advocacy Growth and Development in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
Delivering a speech at the event with the theme, ‘Is Nigeria’s Democracy Under Threat?’ he noted that changing the election sequence undermines the independence of electoral body.
Professor Jega pointed out that several sections of the constitution also stated that the power to organise and set the date for elections remain the exclusive preserve of INEC.
He decried further that more funds would be needed to finance the conduct of elections if the nation was to go by the recommendation of the National Assembly.
In the past years, the presidential and National Assembly elections are always conducted (on the same day) before other polls, while the governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections follow.
The lawmakers have, however, amended the sequence such that the National Assembly polls would be conducted first, followed by the state lawmakers, and the governors while the presidential election should take place last.
On January 23, members of the House of Representatives voted for the change of the order of elections in the country while considering the report on a bill to further amend the Electoral Act 2010.
However, the Senate was divided over the adoption of the conference committee report on the INEC Act 2010 (Amendment) Bill at the Upper House on Wednesday last week.
In its reaction, INEC said it was ready to implement the amended Electoral Act if assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“If it’s assented to by the President, it becomes a law. We have no basis to disobey the law; we have to work within the law as it is,” said INEC National Commissioner, Voter Education and Publicity, Mr Solomon Soyebi during his appearance on Sunrise Daily.