Members of the House of Representatives at plenary
There was confusion at the House of Representatives on Wednesday over the June 30 deadline set by the Independent National Electoral Commission for suspension of its Continuous Voter Registration.
The Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu, raised a point of order to remind the House of its resolution urging INEC to extend the exercise by 60 days.
The House had on Wednesday last week, urged INEC to extend the June 30, 2022, deadline by 60 days to enable more eligible Nigerians to register, get their Permanent Voter Cards and participate in the 2023 general elections.
Also, the House had mandated its Committee on Electoral Matters to engage with INEC to “examine and proffer solutions to the shortage of registration machines and manpower.”
Elumelu noted that after the House called for an extension of the deadline, a court had also granted an injunction ordering INEC not to suspend the exercise.
“But from the feelers that I’m getting, it appears (that) INEC is even threatening to appeal that judgment and jettison the resolution that we passed on this floor,” he alleged.
He urged the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, to ask the Chairman of the House Committee on Electoral Matters, Aisha Dukku, to brief the lawmakers on the level of compliance with the resolution by INEC.
Responding, Gbajabiamila disclosed that he met with Dukku who briefed him on the matter and was billed to brief the entire House.
Giving an update on the CVR, Dukku told the House that the committee met with the Chairman of INEC, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, earlier on Tuesday based on the resolution referred to the committee.
She said, “Part of what he agreed to was that he had already agreed to extend (the exercise) but for the court injunction, he is to appear (in court) on June 29.
“That notwithstanding, he said it had become imperative that it has to be extended; and not just extending, additionally, it would be done even during weekends. He has agreed to that and he is going to make a statement very soon to that effect.”
The Speaker noted that while INEC had expressed its readiness to comply with the House’ resolution, it would be in conflict with the commission’s move to appeal the injunction.
“That will be between INEC and the court to resolve that; if they appeal or they don’t. If they don’t appeal, then, the extension continues. But if they do appeal, then, the 60 days is what they will comply with,” Gbajabiamila said.
After the plenary, Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Benjamin Kalu; and Dukku, while addressing journalists, said though Yakubu told the parliament of his intention to extend the exercise, they could not confirm how long and when he would make the announcement.