By Ignatius Okorocha
The National Assembly Joint Committee on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has again invited the Chairman of the commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, for more clarifications on the gaps in the 2019 general election budget.
At its session on Thursday, the committee was unable to reconcile the discrepancies in President Muhammadu Buhari’s N143billion budget and INEC’s N189billion.
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on INEC, Senator Suleiman Nazif, said after the committee’s meeting in an executive session, that Yakubu was expected to be at today’s meeting by 11:00am to give more details on the budget.
He said that the joint committee, having met to harmonise their reports following Yakubu’s visit to both chambers on Wednesday, concluded that more clarifications were needed on the budget.
Nazif said: “Yesterday (Wednesday), we invited the Chairman of INEC, who addressed the Senate and House and we met today (yesterday) to harmonise what transpired between both chambers.
“The meeting was called consequent upon the letter of Mr. President requesting for supplementary and virement for the 2019 general elections.
“We have done what we need to do and we have realised that there are differences. In view of that we decided to invite the chairman of INEC for further clarifications tomorrow at 11am and from there we will issue a statement to inform Nigerians of our position,” he said.
Nazif assured Nigerians that the committee would work to ensure successful elections in 2019.
He said: “We want to use this opportunity to assure Nigerians that the committee is committed to ensuring effective, credible, free and fair elections in 2019.”
He commended the lawmakers for cutting short their holiday to meet to ensure the success of the elections.
The Senate Committee on INEC on Wednesday queried the commission for presenting a budget that was at variance with that of President Buhari for the 2019 general elections.
The panel discovered a N45.7billion difference in Buhari and INEC budgets.