Senate to INEC: It's our responsibility to fix order of elections

Senate to INEC: It's our responsibility to fix order of elections

The National Assembly Conference Committee on Electoral Act (amendment) Bill had on February 6 adopted the reordered sequence of the 2019 general elections, scheduling presidential election last.

NAN reports that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had equally called for the speedy passage of the bill.

Saraki further frowned at the development where some political aspirants and parties are already campaigning when INEC had not yet declared electioneering campaigns open.

But the INEC chairman, Professor Yakubu Mahmood, recently said that the commission is working with the initial timetable and would consider any other option should President Muhammadu Buhari gave his accent to the amended time table. He added that Nigeria had a lot of people who knew how to go to court to get all kinds of judgments but that "INEC should be cautious of who it is listening to".

"The Senate in particular would be very anxious, if INEC begins to condone the actions of some political parties".

He, therefore, supported the bill seeking to establish the electoral offences commission, saying to relieve INEC of the responsibility of prosecuting electoral offences was necessary to enable it focus and prioritise on other responsibilities.

Prof Yakubu also said that appointment of Secretary to the Commission should be made by the Commission (INEC) itself and not by the president.

Wondering how INEC could effectively prosecute its staff allegedly involved in electoral offences, he said: "Some of the offenders may be staff of INEC so how do we prosecute them ourselves?"

He said, "Of recent, there have been arguments on who has power to do what".

President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, today directed the Senate Committee on Banking and Finance, chaired by Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, to begin the process of screening the 2 nominees for Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria. And removing the prosecution of electoral conflicts from INEC would make it more effective. "INEC can not effectively focus on this role given its other variegated responsibilities under the Constitution and the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended)", he said. "There are several factors responsible for the inadequate success ranging from the huge prosecutorial task, dependence on other agencies for arrest and investigation, time and resources", he said. "That responsibility will now lie with the electoral commission and so INEC can now focus on delivery free and fair election in line with its mandate, " he said.

Chairman of the Senate committee on INEC, Suleiman Nazif, stated that over the years, statistics showed that the various electoral offences and crimes orchestrated by politicians have cast shadows over the nation's electoral process.

"Subsequently, due to human dynamics, crimes and offences of election tend to evolve".

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