It was deadlock at the meeting of the Joint National Assembly Panel on Independent National Electoral Commission as the lawmakers failed to reach a common front on the budget of the Commission.
The development also compelled the Joint National Assembly Committee to summon the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, for further clarification on the election budget.
The Commission’s boss had submitted N189 billion in a separate meeting with both Committees of the National Assembly for consideration.
However, President Muhammadu Buhari had in a letter to the National Assembly, read separately in the both chambers before the lawmakers embarked on annual recess, sought for virement of N242 billion for the conduct of the elections.
President Buhari requested the National Assembly to appropriate N143 billionn for INEC in the 2018 budget.
Buhari explained further that additional N45 billion out of the INEC’s component of the N242 billion would be provided for in the 2019 budget estimates.
Briefing newsmen at the end of closed door session, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on INEC, Nazif Suleiman, said the Committee has done what is expected of it, but there is the need to invite the INEC boss for further clarification on the budget.
According to Suleiman: “We have done what is expected for us to do, but have discovered a little bit if differences, so we are inviting the INEC boss for further clarification on the budget.”
Before the lawmakers went into a closed door session, there was disagreement among the senators on whether to approve the budget submitted by the President for consideration or the one presented by the INEC boss to the Committee.