INEC Budget: Why NASS cannot reconvene now -Saraki, Dogara

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, have stated that a date is yet to be set for the reconvening of the National Assembly to consider the budget of the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) for the 2019 elections.
This was made known is a statement released on Tuesday  morning and signed by the media Advisers to the leaders of the two chambers. It reads:
“The Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki and Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, have directed that we  inform all Senators, Honorable members and the public that a date has not been set for the reconvening of the Senate and the House of Representatives to consider the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) 2019 elections budget request forwarded by President Muhammadu Buhari on July 17, 2018.
“The leadership of the two chambers had met and agreed to reconvene to consider the proposal this week before which a meeting between the Joint Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Electoral Matters and officials of the INEC must have held on or before Monday August 13, 2018.
“The joint committees were also expected to meet with the joint Senate and House Committees on Appropriations, Loans and Debts on the Eurobond loan request after which two reports would have been ready for presentation in the two chambers.
“However, no such meeting had taken place yet as a result of which both Senate and House of Representatives cannot reconvene as there is no report to consider.
“Until the Committees have a ready report for the consideration of the two chambers, it will be most irresponsible to recall members from recess especially those that may have travelled to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj.
Last week,  the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives,  Yussuff Lasun after a meeting of the leadership, had promised that the National Assembly will reconvene this week to consider the N242 billion INEC supplementary budget for the 2019 general election.

INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmud had earlier warned that the Commission stand to lose six month window for  the procurement of some sensitive equipment to prosecute the election if the bill was not considered and passed within this period.

2019: How UK will assist INEC to deliver credible, free and fair polls

United Kingdom International Development Secretary, Penny Mordaunt, has promised that the country would continue to work with Nigeria through the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure that the 2019 general elections are successful.

The minister made the remarks during a meeting with the Chairman of INEC, Mahmoud Yakubu in Abuja at the weekend.

The minister urged the electoral umpire to remain firm and dispassionate in the discharge of its crucial assignment given the importance of Nigeria to Africa and the international community.

Mordaunt said, “Nigeria is Africa’s biggest, and one of its most vibrant democracies. It has made huge progress in recent years ensuring credible, free, fair and peaceful elections. It is vital to Nigeria, her people and to the confidence of the international community that this continues as the country heads towards elections in 2019.

“We are proud of our unwavering support to INEC and civil society, which has ensured that they have been able to make important improvements to the election process.

“We strongly support INEC to carry out its constitutional role, free from political pressure and intimidation, and encourage it to demonstrate neutrality and impartiality in its application of the electoral laws, to build voter trust and confidence. It’s a tough job, but I commend INEC for their efforts to deliver truly free, fair, credible and peaceful elections, that Nigerians can be proud of.

“During this visit, I had the opportunity to meet with civil society groups and hear about their efforts to ensure that women, persons with disabilities and young people are able to embrace politics, and to feel that have a voice and a choice.“

Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said that the best that the All Progressives Congress (APC) can give to Nigerians in 2019 is to conduct one-man one-vote general elections.

PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, said this when he received the German Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr Bernhard Schlagheck, who paid a courtesy call on the party’s national leadership on Tuesday in Abuja.

Secondus attributed lack of free and fair elections as one of the major causes of crisis in Africa.

“When citizens are deprived of their right to vote that will generate crisis that might be difficult to control”, he said.

“Nigeria is an important country in the continent of Africa.

“The best we can give to our people is election that will be transparent, election that will be credible, election that both local and international community will welcome.

“So, we urge the governing APC that the best they can give this country is to offer one man, one vote,” he added.

Secondus said that Ekiti governorship election scheduled for July would be a test for the APC administration.

He urged the international community to prevail on the APC administration to ensure free and fair elections.

Secondus, however, said that the PDP had embarked on two major platforms: generation next and rescue mission, to protect the party ahead of 2019 general elections.

He explained that generation next was to ensuring mentoring for the youths, while the rescue mission was aimed at salvaging the country.

Earlier, Schlagheck, said he was in PDP as part of a tour of all political parties in Nigeria ahead of the 2019 polls.

The ambassador added that his report would be sent to his country, Germany.