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INEC gets 4 weeks extension

Angry members of the House of Representatives were denied the opportunity of ventilating their anger against the leadership which hurriedly adjourned plenary after agreeing to extend the recess by another two weeks.

Before the elongation of the holiday, however, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was granted a leeway to extending the deadline for the ongoing voters’ registration by amending the 2010 Electoral Act.

Hard pressed by the urgency of having the deadline extended, the House suspended its relevant rules and procedures to have the Bill immediately passed for first, second and third readings on the floor.
With the amendment, the date for the display of voters’ register was reduced to 30 days from the original 60 days and INEC has additional four weeks to register all eligible voters.

The House was to resume last week, but the leadership added one week to enable members register and monitor the ongoing exercise.
But as members filed into the chamber in trickles, they wore long faces and some confided in Daily Sun that they would tackle the leadership over a ‘breach of agreement’ before the party primaries.
Some members argued that the leadership left them at the mercies of their state governors in the just concluded primaries, which accounted for the loss of the ticket to represent their party in the April National Assembly election.

“The truth is that many of our colleagues are angry, they are bitter about the way they were given as a prey to the governors. Nothing was done by the leadership to protect them from the governors, who used state powers to deal with us. Can you see that in some states, only one or two members got the ticket to return,” one of the members lamented.
But Chairman of Rules and Business, Ita Enang, denied that members were angry with the leadership. He stated that members resumed for legislative work, but that the need to assist INEC in the ongoing registration of voters informed the decision to adjourn plenary for another two weeks.

Speaker, Dimeji Bankole explained that while plenary remained suspended, relevant standing committees would be working on the 2011 Appropriation Bill so that the passage of the bill would not be delayed.
He also directed the immediate communication of the amendment bill of the Electoral Act to the Senate for concurrence as constitutionally required.

Explaining the general principles of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill to his colleagues, lead sponsor of the proposed amendment, Mr. Ita Enang, said INEC could only extend the deadline, if only section 9(5) of the 2010 Act was amended.

Section 9(5) of the extant Act required that all voters’ registration process must stop not later than 60 days to the commencement of the general election and by that provision, INEC would have only two days extension possibility since it fixed April 2, 2011 for the first election on the timetable released late last year. The ongoing exercise was expected to end January 29, 2011.

By the new amendment, Enang said the 60 days should be deleted and substituted by 30 days, adding that despite the plethora of concerns being expressed by Nigerians due to the challenges being faced in the registration exercise, INEC lacked the powers to extend the deadline beyond the specified timeframe in the Act, urging members to, therefore, support accelerated passage of the Bill.


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Posted by on Jan 25 2011. Filed under Elections 2011. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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