INEC to engage NASS on electoral constituencies- Yakubu

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has explained that it is preparing to engage with the leadership of the National Assembly on the issue of division, revision and alteration of electoral constituencies in Nigeria.

Chairman of the commission, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, who stated this Tuesday, at the consultative meeting with labour unions and professional associations, said the commission’s discussion paper on the matter is being finalised.

Yakubu said ongoing consultations for the proposed expansion of polling units in the country were helping the commission to formulate guidelines on the option preferred by stakeholders before it proceeds to the implementation stage.

The commission also said the implementation stage would also involve further consultations in the field.

While stating that the commission is encouraged by the outcome of the consultations so far, the INEC boss noted that it is approaching this exercise systematically because it is central to democratic elections.

According to the commission, voter access to polling units gives meaning to the right to vote adding that without access to convenient voting locations on election day, the right to vote is undermined and therefore meaningless.

Yakubu further spoke on the reasons for the consultation, “As you may be aware, the purpose of the ongoing consultation is to build a broad national consensus towards addressing the crisis of voter access to polling units in Nigeria on which there will be a detailed presentation shortly.

The INEC chairman also spoke on other works the commission has embarked upon: “In addition to voter access to polling units, the commission will continue to work with the National Assembly to ensure the speedy passage of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.

“This is critical to our work because it is the legal framework that governs our activities. We have been reassured by the National Assembly that work on the bill will be concluded in the next few months.

He therefore reiterated appeal to the National Assembly for expeditious consideration and passage of the bill.

“In addition, we are also preparing to engage with the leadership of the National Assembly on the issue of the division, revision and alteration of electoral constituencies in Nigeria. The Commission’s discussion paper on the matter is being finalised.

He also stated that the commission is also working hard on the resumption of voters’ registration to enable citizens that have not registered before or those that may wish to transfer their registration to other areas where they wish to vote in future elections to do so.

While appealing for the support of the labour unions and professional associations, the INEC chairman added that the commission was working on new innovations to deepen the deployment of technology to improve electoral integrity in Nigeria.

He also told the groups that the commission would conduct bye-elections in three states of the federation starting with Ekiti East State Constituency 1 this weekend, followed by the Aba North/Aba South Federal Constituency bye-election in Abia state on 27th March 2021 as well as the Isoko North State constituency in Delta state on 10th April 2021.

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