INEC Sets up Committee to Review Electoral Constituencies

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  •  Amina Zakari heads two critical panels

Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has constituted an eight-man committee on the Review of Electoral Constituencies in Nigeria as well as four other key committees to proffer ideas on how to improve on the electoral process.

In a letter signed by the acting Secretary to the Commission, Musa H. Adamu, dated January 16, the commission also set up an eight-man Committee on the Review of Polling Units and Registration Areas; a six-man Committee on Review of the Suppressed Constituencies; a seven-man Committee on the Review of GIS Laboratory; and a ten-man Committee on the Review of Diaspora or Out-of-Country Voting (OCV).

The committees were constituted with different terms of reference and are expected to submit their reports to the commission within six weeks with periodic reports at intervals.

Former acting Chairman of INEC, Amina B. Zakari, is heading two of the most important Committees on Review of Electoral Constituencies and Committee on the Review of Diaspora or OCV, while the Committee on the Review of Polling Units and Registration Areas is headed by Prof. Okey Ibeanu, and Secretary is Ushie Godwin.
The Committee on the Review of Suppressed Constituencies is being chaired by National Commissioner, Prince Adedeji S. Soyebi, and the Secretary is Ewa Valentine; the Committee on the Review of GIS Laboratory is headed by National Commissioner, Dr. M. Lecky and Atama Friday (Secretary).

Among the terms of reference given to the committee on the review of constituencies are to review the status of the commission’s past and recent attempts at delimitation of constituencies and make recommendations on the way forward, and to review and advise on INEC collaboration/MoU’s with National Population Commission, National Space Research and Development Agency, National Broadcasting Commission, Office of The Surveyor General of the Federation, National Boundary Commission, Nigerian Postal Service and any other relevant government agencies.

The committee is also to review existing delimitation guidelines and develop new guidelines for delimitation/delineation of the federal constituencies to meet the demand of the current state of the nation.
Whereas members of the Committee on the Review of Polling Units and Registration Areas are expected to consider the current status of Polling Units and Registration Areas nationwide; propose a framework and criteria for review as well as recommend a plan of action for commission’s approval.

In case of the Committee on the Review of Suppressed Constituencies, it will determine the status of suppressed state constituencies, review existing court orders in this regard.

The members of the Committee on the Review of GIS Laboratory are to determine the status of the Geographic Information System (GIS) Laboratory, review data generated, assets acquired thereof, including field assets.
The Committee on the OCV has as terms of reference to determine the legal, political and electoral frameworks that need to be taken into consideration in planning for OCV.

The committee is also to examine the methodologies of, and global best practices for OCV, suggest appropriate methodology(ies) for the commission and estimate the population, spread and locations of Nigerians in Diaspora and Nigerians in missions abroad as well as registration requirements.

The members are to determine the logistical requirements and assess the cost implications of the methodology (ies) suggested for OCV, suggest timelines and/or a project plan for the implementation of OCV by the commission.
Meanwhile, the commission has disclosed that 75 political associations have now applied to INEC for registration as political parties.

INEC National Commissioner, Prof. Anthonia Simbine, who said this during a function in Abuja yesterday, said the existing laws do not give INEC the latitude to restrict the political space to fewer parties.
She noted that money politics “is responsible for the kind of governance that one may get, adding that “If you make an investment, you would want to reap from that.”

According to her, some political parties have been angling for public support, saying there is no existing legislation to back that.
She lamented that too much money was spent on the 2015 general election than any other elections in the history of the country.

INEC said while the “core cost” of the election was $547 million, political parties and their candidates spent between $1.5 billion and $2 billion.

The Chief Technical Adviser to the INEC Chairman, Prof. Bolade Eyinla, disclosed this yesterday in Abuja at the opening of a two-day Learning Conference on the Regional Cost of Politics organised by the Westminster Foundation for Democracy.

“In the last general elections in Benin Republic, the core cost was $15 million and then you had a candidate who alone spent about $32 million.

“In Nigeria, our core cost was $547 million. It is perhaps the most expensive elections that we have ever seen. I have seen figures somewhere of between $1.5 billion to $2 billion and believe me, it is true, if we really knew what happened. In one scandal, we heard of $115 million,” he said.