Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, yesterday, charged incoming 9th National Assembly to come up with a review of the Electoral Law that will assist the commission to begin work on post-2019 elections review and road map to 2023.
According to him, while there is a lot of work to be done, there is very little time available. Yakubu, who spoke at the presentation of Certificate of Return to elected National Assembly members in Abuja, said: “As a process governed by law, the success of elections in Nigeria depends, to a large extent, on the electoral legal framework and most importantly in ensuring adherence to the law.
“I want to assure you that we will continue to work with the National Assembly to review and strengthen our Electoral Law. But, I want to appeal to the senators-elect to please start work early and conclude work on the electoral framework in good time, well ahead of the 2023 general elections.
‘’The tendency to delay electoral reforms, particularly the review of electoral framework until it is too close to the elections, leaves the commission with little time to develop processes, including regulations and guidelines, make required consultations with stakeholders, embark on effective voter education, including sensitisation, train staff and organise deployment for the elections.
‘’I am glad that among the senators-elect are senators that we have worked very closely with and some of them have taken initiatives or even sponsored private member bills to advance the cause of electoral reforms. ‘’We look forward to working very closely with you in the next Senate. However, all these are matters to be considered, I hope we will do so in earnest.” Of the 109 senators in the National Assembly, only 100 senators were presented with certificates as there are outstanding issues in some constituencies, and of the 100, the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, has 62; Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, 37; while the Young Progressives Party, YPP, has one.
Members-elect of the House of Representatives were also later in the day presented with their Certificates of Return. Senator-elect for Benue Northwest, Orker Jev Senator said he already has his agenda as he is not new to legislative business.
Speaking after receiving his Certificate of Return, Kabiru Gaya, the senator representing Kano South, said: “ I think I am one of the most ranking members in the Senate, I am going to work harder as I have been doing for people who voted me four times, so I will do my best on constituency projects.
Also, speaking, senator-elect for Kogi Central, Alhaji Yakubu Oseni, promised to complement the efforts of the state government, especially in the area of security and human capital development, saying no community could move forward without those two.