Deji Elumoye in Abuja
The National Assembly Joint Committee on Electoral Matters yesterday adopted the N143 billion proposal of President Muhammadu Buhari for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to prepare for the 2019 general elections in the country.
The Committee Chairman, Senator Suleiman Nazif (Bauchi North), told journalists at the end of its 30-minute close-door meeting in Senate Committee Room 117 that the committee having deliberated on the election budget proposal before it, resolved to adopt N143 billion recommendation for the electoral body ahead of the 2019 polls.
“The joint committee has sat and has deliberated on the position to adopt the N143 billion as presented by the President,” he said.
He said the committee would be meeting again with INEC management team today “so that they can be allowed to prioritise their needs for the coming polls”
According to him, “at this point in time it is also the wish of this committee that INEC represents their budget of N143 billion as requested by the President.
“Therefore, INEC has an opportunity to reprioritise and this committee will be ready to receive them. This committee will be reconvening Tuesday (today) by 1p.m. so that we can consider the presentation of INEC,” Nazif said.
The joint committee had met four times in the last two weeks over what to approve to INEC for the election.
At one of the committee meetings, the INEC’s Chairman, Prof. Mahmud Yakubu, had requested for N189 billion as the total sum the electoral body would require to prosecute the 2019 general elections.
Nazif had penultimate Saturday hinted that the Joint committee would reconvene yesterday to harmonise the 2019 general elections budget proposal for the electoral body.
He had said in a statement that “It is imperative to state here explicitly that, after an audacious session with all critical stakeholders, the joint committee dissolved into executive structure and agreed to resume on August 27, 2018, to consider the harmonised version of the budget report diligently,” he said.
The committee chairman assured the general public that work on the 2019 election budget was in advanced stage and in line with mandate issued to the joint committee by the leadership of the National Assembly.
Before yesterday’s sitting of the committee, the members of the committee were divided along party lines on the amount that should be approved by the committee for INEC.
While the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senators and House of Representatives members of the committee wanted the committee to approve the N143 billion requested by President Buhari for INEC, their counterparts in the All Progressives Congress (APC), were in support of the approval of N189 billion as requested from the committee by INEC.