2011: Senate, Reps Meet To Consider INEC Request For Time Extension

Source: EMMA UCHE - thewillnigeria.com

ABUJA, Sept 22, (THEWILL) - The possibility of extending the time for the 2011 general elections was notched up today with the announcement that the Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Constitutional Review would meet on Monday in a joint session to deliberate on the request made by the Independent national Electoral Commission (INEC).

The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu who also chairs Senate Committee on Constitution Review (SCRC), made this known via a press statement issued by his Media Adviser, Mr. Paul Odeyi in Abuja.

He said the meeting will deliberate on the request by INEC for the postponement of the commencement of timelines for next year’s general election.

The Chairman of INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega and the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke he said have been invited to the meeting.

The meeting, which starts by 2.00pm, will take place at the Senate Hearing Room 1, White House, National Assembly Complex.

The latest development is the first official reaction by the National Assembly since INEC blew the whistle for the time extension debate at its retreat in Calabar at the weekend.

The indication is that the request might be subjected to another constitutional amendment, since the date was predicated on the provisions of the just revised 1999 Constitution which became operative two months ago. It was also captured in the Electoral Act 2010, which was recently signed into law by President Goodluck Jonathan.

Before now, some stakeholders had moved for an alteration of the timeline on the premise that the time was too short for any meaningful preparation that would guarantee credible elections.

Instructively, the joint meeting of the review panels which comprises 44 members each of the two committees would meet on the eve of the resumption of session by the Senate after a long holiday.