James Emejo in Abuja
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, Wednesday expressed concerns over what he described as an emergency approach being taken by the Federal Government towards the 2019 elections.
He said that the legislature was committed to free, fair and credible elections next year.
Speaking during a meeting of the leadership of both chambers of the National Assembly with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, the Speaker acknowledged gains recorded during the last election cycle in 2015 and urged the electoral umpire to ensure that standards were improved upon.
He said: “As leaders of the National Assembly, we are committed to appropriating whatever is needed within the confines of the resources of the nation for INEC to be able to actualise this and that is why this meeting is important.
However, personally, I have some questions that I intend to raise, but I will raise these in the process of discussion because it appears that we are treating this 2019 election as an emergency, which it ought not to be. So that is just my concern.”
He said: “I want to reiterate that we are committed to an electoral process that will better our experiences of our 2015 general elections. We’ve already set a standard where the world has avowed our electoral process to be fair to a certain degree and we must not go below that standard.”
The INEC chairman, on his part, thanked the leadership of the National Assembly for their continued support.
“Let me, on behalf of the commission, thank your excellencies and the leadership of the National Assembly for this meeting. We are now reenergised and more reassured that our plans for the 2019 general elections are absolutely on course as far as funding is concerned,” he said.
He, however, stressed the need to act quickly, especially as elections are “exactly a hundred and ninety-one days away”.