Funding will not affect 2019 elections – Dogara

Funding would not be a threat to the 2019 elections, according to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara.

Dogara spoke in Abuja on Tuesday soon after members resumed from their annual recess and conclusion of political party primaries ahead of the polls.

However, the House quickly suspended sitting and adjourned till Wednesday (today) in honour of the late Funke Adedoyin.

Adedoyin, who represented Kwara State, had died on September 28 at the age of 54. The House, in keeping with tradition, suspended legislative activities to honour her.

Dogara, who spoke with reporters immediately the House adjourned, stated that the pending N143bn  budget proposed for the Independent National Electoral Commission to conduct the polls would be given expeditious consideration by lawmakers as they settled down for business.

The Speaker explained that a delay in the passage of the budget would not have affected the elections because the 2018 budget had a Service Wide Vote provision of N300bn, which the Federal Government could draw from to conduct the elections in the absence of the INEC budget.

However, he gave the assurance that now that the members were back to work, they would work on the budget and pass it within one week of receiving reports from the Committee on Appropriations.

Dogara stated that the controversial Electoral Act (amendment) Bill returned by President Muhammadu Buhari would also be speedily attended to by the legislature.

He spoke more, “We are here to serve the public good. These issues (INEC budget, electoral bill) are outstanding and we know funding was never going to be a threat anyway as insinuated.

“We showed that we have in the budget a provision for Service Wide Vote which is about N300bn and whatever was the emergency could have been met from that service-wide fund that we have allocated in the budget.

“But, as we are back now, we will set ourselves to accomplish what is there in the interest of our people even if it means within a day or two. We have done that in the area of ease of doing business. There were times within a week that we concluded the first, second and third reading of a bill and passed it into law just because there was a need for us to expand the economic space for participation of citizens in job creation, wealth creation and in rebuilding the economy especially in the wake of the economic recession in this country. So, nothing is impossible.

“I can assure you that as soon as we have the report from the committees, probably within the week, in no time, we should be able to deal with these issues relating to elections.

“Whether it is the  electoral act, funding for INEC; we will ensure that appropriate funding levels are approved for INEC and the electoral act is passed in no time. Even  if it means doing it within a day, we are committed to doing it because the key thing that guarantees democracy is fair, transparent and credible elections and we will not joke with it as politicians.”

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