2023: NASS backs INEC on planned delineation of electoral constituencies
By Peter Usman://
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the National Assembly has promised to work with the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC in its bid to properly delineate electoral constituencies across the country.
The last delineation of electoral constituencies which witnessed the creation of electoral districts and constituencies across the country was carried out 25 years ago in 1996.
The Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, however, assured Nigerians on Thursday when a delegation from the INEC led by its chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, visited his office in Abuja that the exercise, when carried out would enhance democracy as well as provide equitable and fair representation in the nation’s governance structure.
Lawan further explained that having more districts and constituencies would present a level playing field for all Nigerians to elect leaders of their choice at the polls.
He underscored the need for the federal government to find a way around getting accurate information about the country’s population size, stressing that such information is significant and critical for the creation of more constituencies in disadvantaged areas.
He said, “The issue of delineation or creation of more electoral constituencies is like the previous one on the polling units.
“But unlike the polling units, this is going to be more difficult because you need more information, especially on the population.
“[And] because we didn’t have census after the 2006 exercise, now we have to find a way of getting information about our population size because that is very important and significant in taking any decision in that respect.
“But I want to assure you and Nigerians that we will go all the way with you, to finding solutions on getting the delineation of electoral constituencies done before the end of our tenure.
“It is not going to be easy by no means, but we sit here as parliamentarians to deal with the issues of developing Nigeria and, of course, elections determine a lot of things in this country and, indeed, in any country.
“This is one way of giving Nigerians the opportunity to vote for their leaders and we cannot joke with that. We are all products of elections.
“If the delineation of constituencies – whether state or national – will give Nigerians better opportunities and enhance our democracy, and I’m sure it would, we must work hard to do that. So, we would work with you in INEC.”
The Senate President stated that the exercise for the creation of electoral constituencies had become imperative, particularly against the backdrop of resolving conflicts arising from court verdicts and the provisions of the 1999 constitution as amended.
Speaking earlier, Professor Yakubu said the delineation of constituencies requires an Act of the National Assembly, adding that, “the major consideration for revision of the country into constituencies is the population quota.”
“The National Assembly has powers under the constitution to actually request INEC to delineate constituencies by an Act of the Assembly.
“No Act of the National Assembly has asked INEC to delineate constituencies since the last delineation in 1996,” Yakubu revealed.