TRACKING>>Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, yesterday, charged incoming 9th National Assembly to come up with a review of the Electoral Law that will assist the commission to begin work on post-2019 elections review and road map to 2023.
Yakubu, who spoke at the presentation of Certificate of Return to elected National Assembly members in Abuja, said: “As a process governed by law, the success of elections in Nigeria depends, to a large extent, on the electoral legal framework and most importantly in ensuring adherence to the law.
“I want to assure you that we will continue to work with the National Assembly to review and strengthen our Electoral Law. But, I want to appeal to the senators-elect to please start work early and conclude work on the electoral framework in good time, well ahead of the 2023 general elections.
‘’The tendency to delay electoral reforms, particularly the review of electoral framework until it is too close to the elections, leaves the commission with little time to develop processes, including regulations and guidelines, make required consultations with stakeholders, embark on effective voter education, including sensitisation, train staff and organise deployment for the elections.
‘’I am glad that among the senators-elect are senators that we have worked very closely with and some of them have taken initiatives or even sponsored private member bills to advance the cause of electoral reforms.
‘’We look forward to working very closely with you in the next Senate. However, all these are matters to be considered, I hope we will do so in earnest.”
Of the 109 senators in the National Assembly, only 100 senators were presented with certificates as there are outstanding issues in some constituencies, and of the 100, the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, has 62; Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, 37; while the Young Progressives Party, YPP, has one.
Members-elect of the House of Representatives were also later in the day presented with their Certificates of Return.
Senator-elect for Benue Northwest, Orker Jev Senator said he already has his agenda as he is not new to legislative business.
“I already have agenda, just to expand and represent my people very well. There is hope, we have a new crop of lawmakers coming on board and we expect to inject new blood but I am not a new member. I am just moving from the House to the Senate, so it is a continuation of the struggle.
“The fact that they (my constituents) have changed the person that was there means they expect things to be done differently. I am very much aware of the problems of the people and what I need to do is to put them across.
‘’That is what I have been doing in respect of my federal constituency and I intend to expand it because my federal constituency was generally a rural settlement but if you come to the senatorial district, I am going to be representing the two biggest towns in Benue; Makurdi which is the state capital and Gboko which is the capital of the Tiv nation.
‘’So I am very much aware of the problems. I have been collating the problems and all I need to do is to push them across when I move to the Senate.”
I’ll run for Deputy Senate President – Gaya
Speaking after receiving his Certificate of Return, Kabiru Gaya, the senator representing Kano South, said: “ I think I am one of the most ranking members in the Senate, I am going to work harder as I have been doing for people who voted me four times, so I will do my best on constituency projects.
“As they mentioned earlier, that I am a senator who has done more on constituency projects more than any other senator in the country and I will continue to serve my people well.’’
On Senate leadership, Gaya said: “I am waiting for leadership of my party, the Presidency but people are calling that I should run for the Deputy Senate President and by God’s grace and permission of the leadership and the Presidency, I will run for the Deputy Senate President.’’
On his part, Henry Nwanwuba, a House of Representatives member-elect from Imo said:
“My people should expect more. My first tenure was very tough but I believe that as a ranking member, I am more better positioned to attract development. I will make sure that members of my constituency get jobs.”
Also, speaking, senator-elect for Kogi Central, Alhaji Yakubu Oseni, promised to complement the efforts of the state government, especially in the area of security and human capital development, saying no community could move forward without those two.
Oseni said the 9th Assembly would be pro-people as the lawmakers would work harmoniously with the executive to deliver on democratic dividends timeously.