- Holds special joint session INEC budget to top agenda
Deji Elumoye and James Emejo in Abuja
The National Assembly, which has been on recess since Tuesday, July 24, 2018 is to reconvene on Wednesday to consider some executive communications before it, including the 2018 Supplementary Appropriation Bill, containing estimates for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct the 2019 general election.
According to THISDAY sources, the leadership of the National Assembly under the chairmanship of Dr. Bukola Saraki, who is also the Senate president, met at the weekend and agreed that it should be reconvened on Wednesday.
The day was said to have been chosen in order to give some senators and House members who are outside the country enough time to return to the country and be part of the exercise.
The Clerk of the National Assembly, Alhaji Sanni Omolori, is said to have been mandated to reconvene the assembly through a statement on Monday as well as getting across individually to all the lawmakers.
The sources further said the reconvening of the National Assembly would take the form of a joint session of the two chambers with Saraki presiding.
The joint session expected to begin at 10a.m. at the House of Representatives chambers would, among others, consider the 2018 budget proposals of 64 federal parastatals and some requests for virement.
Also slated for consideration by the federal lawmakers is approval for borrowings to fund 2018 budget as well as the N242.445 billion proposed to fund the 2019 election.
Out of the sum, N143.512 billion is voted for INEC to commence necessary arrangement this year ahead of the February, 2019 general election.
Based on this, the National Assembly leadership in the last two weeks met with the INEC management committee led by its Chairman, Prof. Mahmud Yakubu. The last of such meetings was held on Wednesday in Senate Room 301 with Saraki presiding and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, as well as other principal officers of National Assembly in attendance.
Commenting on the issue, a ranking member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Muhammed Monguno (APC, Borno), yesterday said the INEC budget and supplementary appropriation bill sent by President Muhammadu Buhari would top the agenda of the special joint session.
According to him, there will also be a resolution on the invasion of the National Assembly during the special session.
The lawmaker added that he expected a smooth session devoid of the anticipated rancour following recent political developments, especially the gale of defections to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He said, “It will be smooth because we are guided by our rules in deliberations.”
Buhari had last month forwarded to the National Assembly a request for the approval of N242billion budget proposal for the conduct of the 2019 elections.
The president Buhari, in the virement seeking request, explained that out of the proposed N242, 445, 322, 600.00 billion estimated funding of the 2019 general election, N164.104billion should be appropriated for by the National Assembly through virement while the balance of N78.340 billion would be provided for in the 2019 budget provisions .
He explained further that the N164bn needed by INEC this year, should be expeditiously appropriated for by the legislature for early and effective preparations for the elections.
But the National Assembly, a week after receipt of the letter precisely on July 24, adjourned for its yearly long recess without considering the request, making the presidency, to clamour for its reconvening before the fixed resumption date of September 25, 2018.