More States’ and Federal Constituencies in 2019
There is the prospects of more representations at both the sates’ and the NationalAssemblies if the Independent National Electoral Commission,(INEC) heeds to the call by the Speaker of the House of Representatives Rt Honourable Yakubu Dogara for delineation of more constituencies.
Speaker Dogara in his Easter message urged the electoral umpire to immediately commence the process of creating more constituencies in line with the provisions of the 1999 constitution which empowered it to carry out such exercise periodically to reflect the prevailing population.
In a statement signed by his Media Adviser, Turaki Hassan stressed Dogara harped on the need for the delineation to be effected before 2019 general elections.
He further noted that the exercise had become necessary in view of the demands for more constituencies by Nigerians as a result of the rising population and other variables.
He urged INEC to muster the political will to conduct the exercise in accordance with the law.
He opined that the exercise would have to wait till 2019 elections to avoid a situation where sitting elected lawmakers might be displaced urging the electoral body to muster the political will to conduct the delineation before then.
According to Dogara; “The delineation is the responsibility of INEC to do. I don’t know why they are not doing it; it’s not the responsibility of the National Assembly. So they will need to muster a lot of political will”.
The Speaker noted that there were even a lot of constituencies, states’ constituencies really, not federal, which were merged without reason, adding; “ It’s been the basis of clamour; some have even gone to court and won their cases that they should restore those constituencies. For example, a constituency in Benue State and my constituency were even affected. In Tafawa Balewa, we used to have a member representing Bula in the House and Lere, but Bula and Lere were merged, so it’s one of them.”
He further noted that INEC had already submitted the report of the court judgements to the National Assembly for considerations.
“The Supreme Court judgements had directed the INEC to go and de-merge them, but up till now, it’s not been done”. He said.
“However, from my preliminary discussions with the INEC leadership l understand that there may be some kind of reasons because if you say you are demerging them right now, it will amount to annulling the elections of those who won in those constituencies; they would have to undergo fresh elections in those constituencies.”
He hinted of the possibility of the House Committee on Electoral Matters taking up the issue of delineation of constituencies,stressing that since 1999, most constituencies had had their population tripled or quadrupled which, he said, was a major prerequisite for delineation to take place.
He disclosed that by law a federal constituency was supposed to constitute about 300,000, noting that some constituencies currently consist of 800,000 or more people which had necessitated the need for a review of the existing constituencies to ensure fair representations at both the States and the Federal constituencies.