Monday, 12 November 2018

FURTHER DELAY TO RELEASE THE BUDGET FOR THE 2019 GENERAL ELECTIONS IS A THREAT TO NIGERIA’S DEMOCRACY - MOVEMENT FOR TRANSPARENT ELECTIONS (MTE)


MOVEMENT FOR TRANSPARENT ELECTIONS (MTE)

FURTHER DELAY TO RELEASE THE BUDGET FOR THE 2019 GENERAL ELECTIONS IS A THREAT TO NIGERIA’S DEMOCRACY

MONDAY 12TH NOVEMBER 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

It less than 100 days to the 2019 Nigerian General Elections and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is yet to be funded for the elections. It should be noted at this point that Nigeria is in a critical moment when something has to be done urgently. It appears that the politicians are not putting Nigeria first and clearly some interests are working hard to frustrate the effective conduct of elections in Nigeria in 2019.

It would be remembered that the National Assembly received a letter dated 11th July 2018 for virement and supplementary budget to fund the 2019 General Elections. An initial approval to this was made after 3 months on the 12th October 2018 for the INEC component while the security component was approved on the 16th October 2018. The NASS however approved that the funds should be vired from the funds allocated to the Social Investment Programme of the Federal Government which had been budgeted in the 2018 Appropriation Act.

On Tuesday 6th November 2018, four months after the original request for virement and supplementary budget was made, the National Assembly rescinded its decision on funding the elections entirely from the SIP of the Federal Government but rather sharing the source 50% from existing MDAs budgets and the other 50% from the SIP while also opening an investigation into the social intervention scheme of the federal government. It should also be remembered that The National Assembly made cuts amounting to 347 billion Naira in the allocations to 4,700 projects submitted to them for consideration and introduced 6,403 projects of their own amounting to 578 billion Naira in the 2018 Appropriation Bill.

The current step by the NASS to share the funding for the elections between 30 MDAs and the SIP (Social Investment Programme of the FGN) without making any cut on the increased funding of constituency projects likely to create an impasse which could have ordinarily been avoided if greater effort was made to balance the source of the funding. Nigerians need to remember that the NASS has already cut the budget of federal government projects by 347 billion and cutting the already scarce allocation to MDAs by another N121,122,525,050  would clearly create performance problems for these MDAs especially since they have already budgeted for these activities. Some NASS members have said that the executive has approved the funds to be vired from MDAs however this is not congruent with the initial virement request for the funds to come from the inserted funds for constituency projects. The National Assembly needs to make some concessions in the funding sources proposed to include part of its own 587 billion added to the 2018 budget proposal. The NASS should meet the federal government at least half way at a minimum if it truly is committed to supporting free, fair and credible elections in 2019.  

The National Assembly it should be remembered sent a version of the Electoral Act amendment Bill 2018 to the President for assent (3rd version) which had only 15 clauses in it devoid particularly of the section that relates to smart card readers. Despite this some members of the National Assembly were putting pressure on the president to sign a document that was incomplete and which would have plunged Nigeria into electoral crisis. The much talked about 4th version of the Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2018 has only recently been transmitted to the president for assent. All this just 3 months to the General Elections.

At this point all well meaning Nigerians must let their voices be heard because it is clear that there is an attempt to frustrate Nigeria's 2019 General elections which would be a threat to Nigeria's democracy. Nigerians will not allow this to happen and it is expected that the National Assembly source the funding for the 2019 General Elections urgently from mutually agreeable sources with the executive to ensure smooth conduct of the elections next year. The National Assembly members should remember that they are representatives of the Nigerian people and that the represented and not the representatives will have the final say. 

The Movement for Transparent Elections expects that the entire budget for the 2019 General Elections should be released to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on or before Friday 16th November 2018 (exactly 3 months to the 2019 presidential and NASS elections). MTE calls on the National Assembly lead by the Senate President, Distinguished Senator, Dr. Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara as well as the Presidency lead by President Muhammadu Buhari to work assiduously together to ensure that this is a reality. 

Signed

Abiodun Ajijola
Convener

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

PRESS STATEMENT – THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY SHOULD IMMEDIATELY PASS THE ENTIRE BUDGET FOR THE 2019 GENERAL ELECTIONS UPON RESUMPTION




PRESS STATEMENT – THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY SHOULD IMMEDIATELY PASS THE ENTIRE BUDGET FOR THE 2019 GENERAL ELECTIONS UPON RESUMPTION

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

9th October 2018

It would be recalled that on the 11th July 2018, President Muhammadu Buhari made a request for Virement and Supplementary budget to the National Assembly to fund the 2019 General Elections.  Today it has been three months less two days since that letter was written and no budget for INEC has been conclusively approved for the 2019 Elections.  Election Monitor has written three press statements concerning the delayed INEC budget (16th and 30th August as well as 10th September 2018). It is clear that with 129 days to the first set of elections the situation of funding the 2019 General Elections has assumed near crisis levels and every well-meaning Nigerian should be genuinely concerned.

On the 13th September 2018 Election Monitor and some other civil society organizations (CSOs) under the aegis Movement for Transparent Elections embarked on a peaceful protest march to the National Assembly to demand for the immediate passage of the 2019 General Elections budget.

The National Assembly is expected to resume from its annual recess today (Tuesday 9th October 2018) after postponing its resumption from the 25th September 2018.

Election Monitor is demanding that the National Assembly pass the 2019 General Elections budget immediately it reconvenes.

It is important for the NASS to understand that any attempt to further delay the passage of the INEC budget for whatever reason would be interpreted as a clear attempt to frustrate the effective conduct of the 2019 General Elections.

Election Monitor expects that the National Assembly would pass the entire 2019 General Elections budget on or before the 10th October 2018. NASS members are reminded that they are representatives of the people and were elected primarily to uphold the interest of Nigeria.

God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!

Signed


Abiodun Ajijola
National Coordinator

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Taking a look at the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2018




The Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2018 has been the subject of much controversy in the past few months in Nigeria. Elections in Nigeria are conducted based on the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), the prevailing Electoral Act and INEC Guidelines. As there are under 5 months to go till the 2019 General Elections, many stakeholders are keenly interested in the Electoral Act because it forms the foundation for the conduct of elections in the country. However there have been several issues which have resulted in the current situation where there is currently no signed Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2018. Even though the 2019 General elections could still be conducted credibly with the 2015 Electoral Act it is important to trace the trajectory of the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2018 to understand why there has been so much controversy surrounding the Bill and also to ask questions about the reasons for certain actions and inactions.

This document aims to provide a chronological account of the journey of the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2018. It also seeks to get answers for several observed discrepancies.  

Kindly click the link below to access this document: