The House of Representatives on Wednesday urged President Muhammadu Buhari to order the Independent National Electoral Commission to create more Federal constituencies before the 2023 general elections, as it lashed out at the Commission for violating the 1999 constitution, mandating it to do so.
The resolution was passed sequel to the adoption of a motion on Matter of Urgent National Importance on the ‘Review of the division of states of the federation into federal constituencies’, sponsored by the Minority Leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu at the plenary session.
The House, in adopting the motion, resolved that “INEC should without further delay, review constituency delineation as enshrined in the 1999 constitution as amended.
“That in reviewing, INEC should take into consideration Aniocha/Oshimili federal constituency in Delta State which has four local government areas and one of the largest federal constituencies in both population and landmass in the entire nation by splitting it into Aniocha north/Aniocha south federal constituency and Oshimili north/Oshimili south federal constituency and Iseyin/Kajola/Iwajowa/Itesiwaju in Oyo State with four local government areas into Iseyin/Kajola federal constituency and Iwajowa/Itesiwaju federal constituency.”
The House also mandated the “Committee on Electoral matters, to interface with the leadership of INEC and report back in six weeks”.
While moving the motion, Elemelu pointed out that “section 71(b) of the 1999 constitution as amended empowers the INEC to divide the federation into 360 federal constituencies for the purpose of elections into the House of Representatives”.
He noted that “section 73(1) expressly directed that the INEC shall review the division of states of the federation into federal constituencies at intervals of not less than 10 years, and may alter the constituencies in accordance with the provisions of this section to such extent as it may consider desirable in the light of the review”.
“Section 49 provides that the house of representatives shall consist of 360 members representing 360 constituencies of nearly equal population as far as possible, provided that no constituency shall fall within more than one state”.
He raised the alarm that “since the commencement of the 4th republic till date, INEC has not deemed it necessary the compliance of the above section 73(1) of the 1999 constitution as amended thereby depriving citizens of bloated federal constituencies adequate attention”.
Elemelu worries that “though the constitution provides a 10 years time frame for constituency reviews, INEC has not done any known review in the last 22 years of the current democratic dispensation, hence the urgent need to call on INEC to be alive to her responsibilities”.
“The reality on ground today whereby some federal constituencies are twice the size of others in both size and population is at variance with the letters and dictates of the 1999 Constitution
“This is so because INEC has failed to live up to its responsibilities, hence the need to urgently rectify this abnormality for the sake of equitable representation”.
He expressed concerns that “to guarantee effective, quality and adequate representation in the House of Representatives, INEC should without delay delimit the constituencies and carve out new federal constituencies especially in constituencies covering four local government areas”.
He said he was “concerned that the continuous failure for INEC to live up to its responsibilities in reviewing the division of states into federal constituencies does not only portray INEC in a bad light but the entire government institution including the national assembly for also failing to call her to order and invoking adequate sanctions where necessary hence the need for this motion.”