Senators and House of Representatives members elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party have kicked against granting approval to the N189 billion requested by the Independent National Electoral Commission for the 2019 elections.
The lawmakers are contesting the INEC request against the fact that in the letter to the National Assembly on the same matter, President Muhammadu Buhari gave an approval of N143 billion.
The position of the lawmakers came after the hearing by the Joint National Assembly Committee on INEC on the request, with the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu; and the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, appearing on Friday.
The Chairman of the Joint National Assembly Committee on INEC, Senator Suleiman Nazif, said the Committee would not play politics with the INEC budget in his opening remarks.
According to Nazif: “This National Assembly and indeed this committee will not play politics with 2019 elections budget.
“We are here to support INEC.”
But it was observed most PDP lawmakers kicked against granting the N189 billion request to INEC.
Lawmakers who insisted that the approval must be based on the President’s letter were Senator Isa Misau, Senator Muhammed Hassan and Hon. Oluwole Oke.
But Senator Ovie Omo-Agege and Senator Abdullahi Sabi insisted that the entire INEC budget must be approved at once because the 2019 budget may not be ready by February 2019 when the general elections will take place.
According to Sabi: “We are very clear is what is needed for 2018 elections, the other point is how to source for the money.
“It is wise for us to consider the entire thing.
“We should look at what is possible.
“INEC should not be encumbered by the technicality.
“We should deliberate on what is visible.”
It could be recalled that disagreement between INEC and Buhari over the proposed funding of the 2019 general elections ensued on Wednesday with the electoral body demanding for N189.207 billion as against N143 billion the President requested the National Assembly to approve for it this year.
Buhari had in a letter seeking for virement of N242 billion for the conduct of the elections, requested the National Assembly to appropriate N143 billion for INEC this year.