Speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to activate the process of delineation of Federal Constituencies in accordance with provisions of the 1999 constitution.
Speaking in an interview with newsmen in Abuja, Hon. Dogara suggested that the exercise will have to wait till 2019 elections to avoid displacing sitting elected lawmakers.
Speaker added that “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. As a matter of fact, there were even a lot of constituencies, state constituencies really, not federal, that were merged without reason. It’s been the basis of clamour, some have even gone to court and won the cases that they should restore those constituencies.”
The Speaker who noted the clamours for more constituencies in view of the rising population and other factors, urged INEC to conduct the exercise in accordance with law.
“Now I understand, having had preliminary discussions with the authorities that there may be some kind of reason because if you now say you are demerging them right now, those who have won elections in those constituencies, it will amount to annulling those elections.They would have to conduct fresh elections in those constituencies. So the commitment is that they may do that, but it would be in the 2019 general elections, they may introduce the elections in those places.”
Dogara maintained that since 1999, most constituencies have had their population tripled or quadrupled, which is a major prerequisite for delineation to take place.
He stated that ordinarily, a Federal constituency is supposed to constitute about 300,000 but some constituencies presently consists of 800,000 or more people.