- Nigerians express reservations over the postponement of resumption by the National Assembly
- Joe Okei-Odumakin fears the postponement can affect the passage of the INEC budget for the 2019 election
- Abimbola Oyedokun wants Nigerians to vote in capable lawmakers in 2019
Some Nigerians have decried the latest postponement of the resumption date for the National Assembly from September 25, to October 9, saying it would delay the budget of the Independent National Electoral Commission for the 2019 general elections.
Those who reacted expressed their displeasure as they spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday, September 25, in Lagos.
The clerk to the National Assembly, Mohammed Omolori, had on Sunday, September 23, announced that the National Assembly rescheduled resumption from its annual recess from September 25.
The report quoted Omolori as explaining that the postponement was due to the activities of primary elections by political parties.
Joe Okei-Odumakin, president of the Women Arise for Change Initiative (WA), said the shift in date for National Assembly resumption might affect the preparation for the forthcoming general elections by the electoral body.
Okei-Odumakin urged the executive arm and National Assembly to ensure speedy approval of the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) proposed budget for 2019 general elections by burying their differences in the overall interest of the nation.
“The postponement of the resumption, without doubt, will have its negative effects on the preparations by INEC towards the 2019 elections.
“And I can confidently say that this will begin to unveil itself in the next few days.
“We must all understand clearly that most of the items captured by the INEC’s budget has to do with procurement of election materials, many of which are items not produced within our country, which may therefore experience some serious delays.
“This is why I want to restate the need for the executive to work closely with the National Assembly, in order to sort out areas of conflicts, and ensure a speedy approval of INEC’s budget as well as passage and assent to the pending electoral act,” she said.
Okei-Odumakin urged the lawmakers to prioritise national interest while performing their statutory duties.
“As valid as the reason for the postponement of the National Assembly resumption may sound, the members must understand that the collective interest of Nigerians, majority of whom are not members of the political parties, must always take precedence over the partisan interests of our elected public officials.
“There should be limit to how far they must go in abandoning their job as servants to the citizens for their pursuit of ambitions.
“It is not too pleasant and the leadership of the National Assembly should urgently review this.
“There is nothing that prevents members of the National Assembly from participating in their political parties affairs, while at the same time performing their statutory duties,” she said.
Abimbola Oyedokun, the Lagos state chairman of KOWA Party, said with six months to the general elections, INEC might not be able to prepare adequately without the approval of its proposed budget.
“It’s unfortunate that critical issues such as the funding of the general elections have been left unattended to up till this time.
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“The National Assembly is within its rights to postpone resumption of plenary, whether because of party primaries or any other reason.
“It is, however, surprising that a government which controls both the executive and legislative arms of government has been unable to pass such critical legislation less than six months to the general elections.
“It is time for Nigerians to vote in capable legislators into the National Assembly instead of merely endorsing the options provided by the so-called large parties,” he said.
NAIJ.com earlier reported that the Nigerian Senate on Tuesday, July 24, adjourned it’s plenary for two months. The adjournment is coming after the recent attacks on the leadership of the upper chamber.
The Senate president, Bukola Saraki, made the announcement during the upper chamber's plenary session.
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