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Report: Federal lawmakers pushing resumption to October

Report: Federal lawmakers pushing resumption to October
September 09
11:10 2018
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Federal lawmakers want their resumption date extended to October, according to PUNCH.

The national assembly went on recess on July 24 and fixed resumption date for September 25.

But there has been pressure on the leadership of the national assembly to reconvene in order to consider some requests made by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The president had asked the lawmakers to approve N242 billion for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) ahead of the 2019 polls.

The newspaper quoted some lawmakers as saying the resumption date would not be feasible because the two major political parties – the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) – have their primary election in September and October.

They also said the joint committee working on INEC budget “has a long way to go”.

“The joint committees still have a long way to go. The joint committee on INEC after their assignments will pass everything to the appropriation committee which will bring the report to the leadership,” Enyinnaya Abaribe, senator representing Abia south, reportedly said.

“The leadership of the two houses would have to meet and decide on when to reconvene and it must be on the same day. From the way we are seeing it, there is no way we could reconvene until after the primaries which will even extend to the first week in October.”

Bode Ayorinde, a house of representatives member from Ondo state, was quoted as saying the national assembly would likely look into reports of the committees after primary elections of the parties.

“It is also not feasible that we would resume in September owing to the fact that primaries of the parties are scheduled to hold between now and the end of September,” Ayorinde said.

“The dates of the primaries of the ruling party extend till the first week in October. Do you now expect someone, who is campaigning for his election, to now rush down to the national assembly for plenary?

“So, the plenary to consider the reports of INEC may not come up until after the primaries.”

On his part, Shehu Sani, senator representing Kaduna central, said reconvening the national assembly on September 25 would be “an exercise in futility.”

“Nobody would come back to the senate or house of representatives when primaries are ongoing,” the Kaduna senator said.

“Reconvening the chambers is going to be an exercise in futility.”

Also, Ahmed Lawan, senator leader, said a quorum would not be formed in the upper legislative chamber if it reconvenes on the resumption date because the senators would be in their constituencies participating in primary elections.

“I will also agree with my colleagues who feel that we can extend beyond the 25th because the primaries of almost all the parties will have to take place towards the end of September and early October,” the Yobe senator said.

“Within that period, we should be fair to ourselves that even if we reconvene from recess on the 25th, we would hardly be able to form a quorum because many senators, if not all, would be in their senatorial districts or participate in the primaries of other candidates of their choice.”

Lawan added that there is “need to reconvene before then (September 25) to pass the very essential requests by Mr President.”

Efforts to reach Sabi Abdullahi, spokesman of senate, were not successful as he did not take calls or respond to messages when he was contacted by TheCable.

Abdulrazak Namdas, spokesman of the house of representatives, did not take calls but replied a text message saying: “I know of 25th.”

TheCable had asked him to comment on the resumption date.

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