Strong indications emerged, yesterday, that Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, may be in a fix in conducting the 2019 general elections, following the adoption of N143 billion by National Assembly as requested by President Muhammadu Buhari, against the proposal of N189 billion put forward by the commission.
The decision to settle for the N143 billion was taken at the end of a joint meeting of the Senate and House of Representatives Committees on INEC. The lawmakers had earlier gone into a closed door session, which lasted 30 minutes. The motion to go into an executive session was moved by Wole Oke and seconded by Senator Sabi Abdullahi (Niger North).
Meanwhile, the lawmakers have summoned the chairman of INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, and other top management staff of the commission to appear before the committee today to throw light on the budget proposals, the need to review the figures and prioritise its activities and money to be spent. Addressing journalists after the closed door session, chairman of the joint committee, Senator Suleiman Nazif (Bauchi North), said: “The joint committee has sat and has deliberated the position to adopt the N143 billion as presented by Mr. President at this point in time.
It is also the wish of this committee that INEC represents their budget of N143 billion as requested by Mr. President. Therefore, INEC has an opportunity to re-prioritise and this committee will be ready to receive them. “This committee will be reconvening tomorrow ( today) by 1:00 o’clock so that we can consider the presentation by INEC. “Is that a true reflection of what we discussed at the joint committee? The members unanimously, responded in affirmative. It would be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had in a letter seeking virement of N242 billion for the conduct of the elections, requested the National Assembly to appropriate N143 billion for INEC this year.