Primary Election: National Assembly Shifts Resumption To October

Feelers from federal lawmakers during the weekend indicate that National Assembly might postpone their resumption to October in order to allow members participate in primary election of different political parties.

Investigations show that members of the National Assembly leadership are appealing to  the leadership of both chambers to extend their resumption from September 25 to the second week of October.

Some Senators and  House of Representatives members who spoke on the issue explained that the September 25 earlier fixed, was no longer feasible.

They argued that it would not be possible for the joint committees on electoral matters and those on appropriation to conclude their assignments before the end of September.

They also said it would not make sense for members of the two chambers to abandon the primaries of their parties in their various constituencies to resume plenary.

The Vice-Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Rules and Business, Dr. Bode Ayorinde, said the date of the resumption was not yet in view because the joint committee on INEC had yet to finish their assignment.

Ayorinde stated, “If there are differences in their decision, the principal officers of the two houses would sit and harmonise the differences and take it to plenary for approval.

“It is also not feasible that we would resume in September owing to the fact that primaries of the parties are scheduled to hold between now and the end of September.

“The dates of the primaries of the ruling party extend till the first week in October. Do you now expect someone, who is campaigning for his election, to now rush down to the National Assembly for plenary?

“So, the plenary to consider the reports of INEC may not come up until after the primaries.”

Asked if it was not possible for the two chambers to announce a date and jointly sit in plenary to approve the polls budget request, Ayorinde said, “There is no provision for a joint sitting to approve budget.

“I am very optimistic that within a week or two after our resumption, we would sort it out. The principal officers of the two chambers can even sit and harmonise positions before the reports are presented at plenary to make the process faster.”

The implication of the postponement is that INEC budget for 2019 elections will not be approved before October.