From Right: Chairman Independent National Electoral Commission
(INEC) Professor Mahmood Yakubu, INEC National Commissioners Barr May
Agbamuche-Mbu, Ladipo Adeune Ogunmola and Air Vice Marshal Ahmed Mua’zu
(rtd.), during the 2021 Budget defence with the House of Representatives
Committee on INEC at the National Assembly in Abuja yesterday PHOTO:
*Moves to amend Electoral Act soon
…As INEC records 1700 court cases for 2019
By Ignatius Okorocha
The Senate on Wednesday directed Chairman,Independent National Electoral Commission,( INEC),Prof.Mahmud Yakubu to work out modalities for the new salary enhancement structure with Salaries , Income and wages Commission for legislation.
This is as the National Assembly joint committee on Independent National Electoral Commission has concluded plans to commence public hearing on the amendment of 2010 electoral Act.
Chairman, Senate committee on INEC, Sen Kabiru Gaya( Kano ) who dropped this hint on Wednesday at the budget defence of the commission said the need for salary enhancement structure for INEC staff has become inevitable given he high risk faced by staffers of the commission during elections.
The committee he said has given INEC three months to work out details of salary enhancement structure for staff of the commission to enable it put up legislation to back up the remuneration.
“The committee is willing to come up with a legislation on the matter with our committee on establishment,” he said.
On the call for amendment of Electoral Act, Gayah said the two chambers of the National Assembly have concluded plans to flag of public hearing on the amendment of 2010 electoral Act, and urged Nigerians to come up with memoranda for the hearing.
“Nigerians are anxious about electoral Act amendment and we on our part a ready for public hearing and for your information we will need your inputs based on your experiences during elections. As soon as possible we will hold a joint public hearing on Electoral Act Amendment.
“We are appealing to Nigerians to bear with us it would be ready before the next election,”he said.
Fielding questions from journalists , INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmud Yakubu the commission would soon provide the upper chamber with details of the new salary structure for commission.
“The best solution will be for INEC to be on totally on a different salary structure but we just have to be working with various agencies such as Salaries, Income and wages to see how that can be done. Our responsibilities are enormous nation wide and the risk as well.
“We shall resume our discussion with Salaries, Income and Wages on a new salary structure for our staff for the kind of work that members and staff of the commission engage in and the risks it is subjected to in conducting election.
“We have made provision for N12billion for conduct of elections and this one way of remunerating our staff since we don’t have different salary structure.he noted.
Meanwhile the INEC boss disclosed at the commission received about 1700 pre-and post electoral deed at the 2019 election.
According him,”the commission spent about N4.5million on legal fees on 2019 general polls. We paid to ministry of justice as legal fees for electoral fees but because of a number of cases amounting to 1700 pre- and post electoral cases for 2019 alone and everyday there people going to court and joining INEC either for continuous voter register, nomination of candidate etc. everyday we are drag to court but we shall continue to what we can within available resources.”
On voters verification,he said ” For continuos voters registration, the commission intends to resume voter registration in the first quarter of next year and once we resume it would be continued for one and half year.
“At least for six months before the general election. In other wards we are not going to resume the voters registration in one or two weeks but we are working out e details.”
On diaspora registration, he said,”the commission is desirous of registering Nigerians staying abroad and occurring them e right to vote after all in all our neighboring countries but it would require amendment of our electoral Act.
“We are already working with the committee to amend the electoral Act. It has two dimension, there is what is called Nigerians serving outside Nigeria, Army or Police serving abroad. Then there is other dimension which is what you are talking about. That is voting by Nigerians aboard,we are ready in fact we are holding meetings with the diaspora commission.”