By Deji Elumoye
Abuja — The National Assembly Joint Committee on Electoral Matters saddled with the onerous task of looking into the 2019 general election budget proposal of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, is expected to reconvene in Abuja today
The committee, which had adjourned ten days ago is meeting principally to harmonise its position on what to approve for the electoral body in preparation for the elections beginning in February 2019.
The joint committee with membership drawn from both the Senate and the House of Representatives headed by Senator Suleiman Nazif had within the month met thrice to consider the INEC election budget but failed to reach a consensus on whether to approve N143 billion or N189 billion for INEC to prepare ground for the 2019 elections.
THISDAY learnt last night that not much has changed as the members of the committee had not agreed on what to recommend to the Appropriation Committee which will further look into the proposal before passing it to the leadership of the National Assembly. It was gathered that the members of the committee were still divided along party lines with PDP members canvassing for N143 billion while their APC counterparts are rooting for N189 billion.
Investigation further revealed that the committee may harmonise its position at today’s meeting.
The Committee Chairman, Senator Suleiman Nazif, had penultimate Friday hinted that the Joint committee would now reconvene today. “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 reportedly said in a statement.
The committee chairman assured Nigerian that work on the2019 election budget is in advanced stage and in line with mandate issued to the joint committee by the leadership of the National Assembly.
At its last sitting, the members of the committee had toed their respective party lines, while debating the amount that should be approved by the committee for the INEC to prosecute the 2019 general elections in the country.
While the PDP Senators and House of Representatives members of the committee canvassed for the approval of N143 billion requested by President Buhari, their counterparts in APC were in support of the approval of N189 billion as presented before the committee by INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmud Yakubu.