Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the House of Representatives has told the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to invoke the provisions of Section 71(b) of the Constitution which provides for the review of the division of states of the federation into federal constituencies.
The resolution was passed on Wednesday 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, Ndudi Elumelu.
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Elumelu, who expressed displeasure over the failure of INEC to exert its powers as provided by the constitution, chided the commission for failing to review the division of states into federal constituencies over the past 22 years of the current democratic dispensation, against the 10 years provided by the constitution.
Daily Trust reports that the last constituency delineation was done in 1999.
The lawmakers urged the commission to further delineate federal constituencies covering local government areas in the four geopolitical zones of the country.
While presenting the motion, Elumelu said “Section 71(b) of the 1999 constitution as amended empowers the independent national electoral commission (INEC) to divide the federation into 360 federal constituencies for the purpose of elections into the House of Representatives.”
He however said Section 73(1) expressly directed that INEC shall review the division of states of the federation into federal constituencies at intervals of not less than 10 years.
He added that 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.
According to the lawmaker, from the commencement of the 4th republic till date, INEC has not deemed it necessary to comply with Section 73(1) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, thereby depriving citizens of bloated federal constituencies’ of adequate attention.
He said INEC “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.”
Rep. Elumelu said 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.
The House mandated its committee on electoral matters to interface with the leadership of INEC and report back in six weeks.