The National Assembly Joint Committee on the Independent National Electoral Commission is to resume deliberations on Monday next week.
Members of the committee are expected to take a decision as to whether to approve the virement request of N143bn contained in President Muhammadu Buhari’s letter to the National Assembly or the entire N189bn requested by INEC.
It was gathered in Abuja, on Thursday that a number of committee members travelled out of Abuja after last Friday’s meeting.
A member of the committee who spoke on condition of anonymity so as not to pre-empt the outcome of Monday’s meeting said, “Nothing has changed.
“We have yet to arrive at a conclusion as to whether it is the President’s N143bn, which he requested to be vired from projects in the 2018 budget or the entire sum of N189bn being the total requirement for the 2019 elections.
“It will be the main focus of Monday’s meeting. If you recall, the Minister of Budget and National Planning told us the last time that the executive was comfortable with anyone we chose, it shouldn’t be an issue.”
On the issue of reconvening the National Assembly, the source said, “You can’t talk about reconvening the National Assembly now when the committee on INEC has not concluded its work let alone the committee on appropriations.”
Another Senator who equally spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution, said, “Most of those talking about reconvening now are playing to the gallery because they know it’s not feasible.
“Take, for instance, the INEC Committee has not concluded its assignments. When it concludes, it will pass its recommendations to the Committees on Appropriations. For those in appropriations to do a thorough job, they will have to invite heads of the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies where these monies will be vired from; this is not something you can do in one or two days.
“I don’t know of tomorrow but as we speak, the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations (Committee, Senator Dajuma Goje), who is also a member of the APC, went on pilgrimage and has yet to return.”
Repeated calls to the mobile telephone number of the Co-Chairman of the Committee, Senator Suleiman Nazif, indicated that it was switched off. A text message sent to him on the subject was still being awaited as of the time of filing this report at 7:37pm.
Recall that Nazif gave notice of the scheduled resumption of deliberations by the committee on August 27th.