Lawmakers express concern for welfare of commission’s staff
With many Nigerians still unconvinced that the Ninth Senate, led by Senate President Ahmed Lawan, will not end up as ‘rubber stamp’ to the Executive, the upper chamber of the National Assembly appears to be starting on a good footing with a determination to ensure that free, fair and credible election is attainable in Nigeria, at least in the coming 2023 general elections, which is just a little over 1,240 days ahead.
It was such determination that probably made the senate to engage the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, who led other National Commissioners to brief the newly constituted Senator Kabiru Ibrahim Gaya-led Senate Committee on INEC on preparations for the Bayelsa and Kogi governorship elections, scheduled for November 16, 2019.
Other motives behind the legislators’ invitation to INEC included the need to understand the Commission’s commitment to doing its job of delivering credible elections in Nigeria, welfare of its staff and other critical logistics.
While many Nigerians considered the development, especially coming more than three years to the next general elections as a step in the right direction, others expressed the belief that if there is sincerity of purpose and commitment to implementing whatever comes thereafter, “it is possible for Nigeria to witness a better electoral process in 2023.”
In his presentation, Professor Yakubu told the Kabiru Ibrahim Gaya-led Committee about the proposed amendment to the Electoral Legal Framework, saying, “You will recall that when Certificates of Return were formally presented to Members-Elect of the National Assembly at the International Conference Centre after the 2019 general elections, it was one of the issues that I raised. I said that there is a lot of work to do, but very little time available for doing the job. Very little time, considering the fact that from now to the 2023 General Elections, it just a little over 1,240 days. So, the election is not too far away.”
Yakubu commended the senators for expressing concern over the welfare of the commission’s staff, saying, “We are committed to that and we will make specific proposals when we submit our 2020 budget proposals before the end of this month. I am sure our staff will be very happy to hear this that you have put smiles on the faces of all the staff of the Commission.”