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National Assembly election committee

The National Assembly Joint Committee on Electoral Matters has overruled President Muhammadu Buhari’s earlier request that N143, 512,529,455 be vired from capital projects in the 2018 budget to fund the 2019 general elections.

The panel instead recommended that the funds be vired from service-wide votes under the Special Intervention Programme (recurrent) to ease consideration and avoid increase in the size of the budget’s expenditure framework.

In the appropriation, N943.6 billion was approved as service-wide vote for the president.

The committee also slashed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) budget by N200, 272, 500 to N143, 312, 256, 955.13.

The resolutions were made yesterday sequel to further harmonisation of the electoral umpire’s 2019 budget by the entire chamber.

Briefing newsmen in Abuja, chairman of the committee, Senator Suleiman Nazif, said the harmonised report had put to rest all contentious issues, assuring Nigerians that the electoral body had been effectively positioned to conduct free, fair and credible elections next year.

The lawmakers, however, drew part of their resolutions from Section 80 (4) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) wherein it stated that “no moneys shall be withdrawn from the consolidated revenue or any other public fund of the federation except in the manner prescribed by the National Assembly.

But the recommendations are yet to be referred to the committee on appropriation for further legislative action.

Also yesterday, former Minister of External Affairs Professor Ibrahim Gambari, expressed concern over the growing tensions ahead of the forthcoming polls.

The erstwhile Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations warned that though the doomsday scenario painted ahead of the 2015 elections did not materialise due to efforts of some eminent persons and key initiatives, there should be no room for complacency as the exercise fast approaches.

The UN Under-Secretary-General argued that the path to the nation’s greatness lies in “our collective efforts to ensure the evolution of a truly nationalistic political process capable of democratically throwing up the ideal national leader who must profess absolute faith in a federal, secular, sovereign and independent Nigeria.”

Gambari, who was speaking at the 2018 Annual Lecture of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) in Abuja, urged vigilance, noting that Nigerians have never been this divided in the history of the nation’s existence.



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