By Emeka Nze
The Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu, has called on the National Assembly to expedite action on the passage of the relevant legislation guiding the conduct of elections in the country to give the Commission ample time to prepare for the 2019 general elections.
Yakubu noted that the next general election was only 470 days away and stressed that early passage of the legal framework for the conduct of elections in the country would assist INEC in planning for the elections.
Yakubu made the call when members of the steering committee of the Nigerian Institute of Legislative Studies (NILS), led by its Chairman, Hon. Aminu Shehu Shagari, visited him at the commission, yesterday, in Abuja.
The INEC chairman also spoke on the budget for the 2019 general elections which he hinted that the clear picture of the estimated budget would be gotten by next week, when the commission validates and approves its election project plan.
He said: “the validation and approval of the Strategic Plan 2017 – 2021 and Strategic Programme of Action, will give us a clear idea of how much it will cost this nation to conduct the 2019 general elections.”
Yakubu commended NILS, as a non-partisan organ of the legislature, for its provision of technical assistance in the democratic process and maintained that developing greater ties in the area of capacity building and trainings for Political Parties would greatly help the work of INEC.
Earlier, the leader of the visiting team, Hon. Aminu Shagari, who is also a member of the House Committee on Electoral Matters, said the visit was to seek the cooperation of the Commission in building a viral democratic institution in Nigeria through sustainable capacity building.
Shagari disclosed that the NILS was manning postgraduate and masters degree programmes in elections and political party management, which would be an affiliation of the University of Benin, and implored the commission to enrol its staff into the institute’s postgraduate programmes.