The Joint Committee of the National Assembly on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Friday suspended indefinitely, deliberations on the N189bn budget submitted by the commission for the conduct of 2019 elections.
The Committee Chairman, Suleiman Nazif, who announced the indefinite suspension at the end of the panel’s meeting, however, assured Nigerians that members would do the needful to ensure that the citizens emerge victorious at the end of the day.
He said, “‘Honourable minister, honourable chairman (of INEC) and presidential liaison, I want to thank you very much for your time. We have the prerogative as a committee to look into all the details having got all the clarifications we require. We will now sit as a committee at the end of the day on which one to use. We are not playing politics here.”
‘‘This is not where we play politics. On this note, this meeting is adjourned sine die (indefinitely).”
News outlets learnt that members of the panel did not take a decision on the fate of the N189bn budget submitted by the electoral commission at Friday’s meeting.
Investigations showed that members of the committee were torn between considering INEC’s N189bn and the President’s request that N143bn out of the amount should be vired from the 2018 budget while the balance of N45.6bn should accommodated in the 2019 supplementary budget.
Nazif, who chaired Friday’s meeting at the National Assembly, tried to offer explanations on the areas of conflict.
He said, “The issue in contention is, we have a letter from Mr. President requesting supplementary budget and what we have is a budget of N143, 512, 529.00, that is what we have in the President’s letter.”
“But at the same time, there is another N45bn. When you put the N143bn and the N45.6bn, it gives us the N189bn, there is no confusion in it.”
“INEC did the right thing, the President sent his letter. It is the sources of funding that became a problem that is why we invited the Minister of Budget and National Planning so that he can clarify.”