December 1, 2021

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Review of electoral constituencies’ delineation overdue — INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Thursday said that there was a need to review the delineation of electoral constituencies across the country to properly reflect the population quota.

INEC chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, stated this during a visit to the Senate President Ahmad Lawan in Abuja.

The last exercise which witnessed the creation of electoral districts and constituencies across the country was carried out 25 years ago.

“The major consideration for revision of the country into constituencies is the population quota,” Yakubu said.

He, however, noted that the delineation of constituencies would require an Act of the National Assembly.

“The National Assembly has powers under the constitution to actually request INEC to delineate constituencies by an Act of the Assembly.

“No Act of the National Assembly has asked INEC to delineate constituencies since the last delineation in 1996”, Yakubu said.

Responding, Lawan assured that the National Assembly would work with the INEC in its bid to properly delineate electoral constituencies across the country ahead of the 2023 general elections.

The Senate President said the delineation of electoral constituencies in the country would enhance democracy as well as provide equitable and fair representation in Nigeria’s governance structure.

He explained further that having more districts and constituencies would present a level playing field for all Nigerians to elect leaders of their choice at the polls.

‘Need for census’

He underscored the need for the federal government to find a way around getting accurate information about the country’s population size, stressing that such information is significant and critical for the creation of more constituencies in disadvantaged areas.

“I want to assure you and Nigerians, that we will go all the way with you, to finding solutions on getting the delineation of electoral constituencies done before the end of our tenure.

“This is one way of giving Nigerians the opportunity to vote for their leaders and we cannot joke with that. We are all products of elections,” he said.

The Senate President stated that the exercise for the creation of electoral constituencies had become imperative, particularly against the backdrop of resolving conflicts arising from court verdicts and the provisions of the 1999 constitution as amended.

He queried, “are we going to respect what the constitution provides for, or discount constitutional provision and respect what the courts would ask INEC to do?

“We have to settle that, even for the sake of protecting you and going extremely legal, so that we don’t create difficulties going forward.

“But we must resolve this, because it is time, since 1996 when the current electoral districts and constituencies were created, there was no such exercise.

“I will not blame the former National Assembly sessions for not considering the request from INEC, because this is really a difficult call to make, but we sit here with hope and determination to deal with these issues no matter how difficult they will be.

“Even in the National Assembly, I’m sure when it is brought before the chambers, it will require a lot of horse trading and, of course, consultations, give-and-take, but that is what politics is all about.

“And we have to be patriotic enough to look at the need and necessity for giving people who are suppressed.”