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INEC's N74B: Senate Schedules Emergency Session For Next Tuesday

Source: EMMA UCHE -
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ABUJA, August 03, (THEWILL) - The Senate today announced that it will cut short its two month long recess on Tuesday, August 10, to consider the N74 billion naira additional request by the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega.

Jega had said the money would be used for voters’ registration and the conduct of 2011 general election.

Also the Senators will at the hurried plenary session screen three additional ministerial nominees expected to be forwarded by President Goodluck Jonathan for confirmation. Their names are yet to be made known as at press time.

Senate had last Thursday embarked on a two-month holiday, which marked the end the third session officially. They would resume plenary on September 29, going by their calendar, unless if they factor in the emergency session.

However, they resolved to reconvene on Tuesday against the backdrop of the strength of the request made by Prof. Jega, who had asked that he be given N74 billion before August 11, or there may be no elections in 2011, and also to consider the three nominees whose names are yet to be made public by the presidency.

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Information and Media, Senator Ayogu Eze confirmed the development today and declared that the Senate will at the planned plenary on Tuesday look at the proposed N74 billion naira request by the INEC boss for the review of voters register.

He also confirmed that the president would forward additional three ministerial nominees to the Senate for confirmation as Ministers. Senator Eze did not however name the three nominees, but added that the new ministerial nominees would appear before the Senate in plenary on Tuesday next week.

Recall that Senator Eze had while briefing reporters at the end of the session last week said that Senate would be ready to reconvene at short notice to consider any request by INEC for the conduct of the 2011 election.

Therefore, based on the assurances, Senator Eze affirmed that the decision was in keeping with the Senate resolve to provide the necessary legislative support to the commission ahead of the 2011 election. He did not confirm if the Senate would approve the exact amount of N74 billion naira for INEC but the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu had in a reaction on Monday given an inkling of a likely showdown, when he insisted that the amount being requested was too much for such a job in the face of wide spread poverty in the land.

Prof. Jega had last week requested for N74 billion for the review of voters register for the 2011 election. Jega at a meeting with the Senate Committee on Electoral Matters warned that failure to release the funds to the commission before August 11 may put the 2011 polls in jeopardy.

‘’So from our own calculation, clearly we will need N74 billion. We realize that there was even an error in the calculation. We have corrected it and made it available to the executive where we first made that. So we took all these things into consideration and as I said for purposes

"We are operating under a very tight frame, the way we are thinking now as a commission is that if the funding requirements are made available latest by August 11, which is the second week of August, we will be able to initiate a procurement process," he assured.