Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmoud Yakubu, with other officials at a briefing in the early hours of Saturday, just before the Commission announced the postponement of the general elections. Photo: ChannelsTV/ Sodiq Adelakun.
Lawmakers in the House of Representatives have questioned the powers of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to declare an election inconclusive.
The lawmakers who frowned on the number of the elections declared inconclusive by INEC in the 2019 general elections, unanimously agreed to immediately constitute a special committee to take another look at the Electoral Act for amendment.
The members of the House of Representatives had turned out in their numbers for the first proceedings since the elections.
However, as they got set for the first business of the day, a lawmaker, Sunday Karimi from Kogi State, raised the inconclusive elections as a matter of urgent public importance.
“Inconclusive election has become a demon haunting the Nigeria electoral system, eroding the confidence of the electorate in the electoral system and has become a tool for subverting the will of the people during elections in Nigeria,” he said.
His submission elicited reactions, with the lawmakers questioning the powers of the electoral umpire to declare elections inconclusive.
For the House Majority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, there is an urgent need for an amendment of the Electoral Act.
He said, “Within a matter of weeks or one week, let us set up a crack team to amend the Electoral Law to limit the powers of INEC,”
Another lawmaker, Douye Diri, called for a change from manual to electronic voting which, he said, would not only be cheaper but also save lives.
He blamed lawmakers for not being proactive in addressing the challenges facing the electoral system in Nigeria. He said, “Mr. Speaker I repeat; the problem of this country is in the National Assembly.”
At the end of deliberations, the House resolved to quickly set up a committee to examine the Electoral Act with a view to amending the law.
Meanwhile, when the matter was raised in the upper legislative chamber, many of the senators opposed the idea of debating the matter but referred it to another legislative day.
Both chambers eventually adjourned sitting to Tuesday March 19, to allow re-elected members attend the presentation of certificates of return to them by INEC on Thursday March 14, 2019.