SENATORS rose from a sitting on Tuesday and noted with deep concern, a situation where at least 20 states of the federation have no Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs), contrary to Section 14(2) of the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution.
The senators also resolved to conduct a public hearing to investigate the failure of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct series of elections it declared inconclusive in recent months.
The lawmakers, who adopted a motion presented by Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, also decried the serial postponement of elections and failure of INEC to conduct elections as scheduled.
While moving the motion, Ekweremadu stated that the Senate was aware that the 2010 electoral reforms, which included the amendment of the 1999 Constitution and the Electoral Act, had placed the country’s electoral system on “globally acclaimed improvements in the 2011 and 2015 elections.”
He submitted that “the Senate notes with deep concern that at least 20 states of the federation have no Resident Electoral Commissioners contrary to Sections 14(2) of the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution. It further notes that INEC cannot function optimally without the full complement of members that will superintend the activities of other personnel.
“The Senate observes that the failure of INEC to conduct reruns within the timeframe ordered by the respective election petitions tribunals and courts is in breach of the Electoral Act and Section 76 of the 1999 Constitution, thus endangering the nation’s democracy.”
He also decried what he called the trend of “inconclusive elections and whimsical postponement of elections” being witnessed under INEC, adding that such amounted to wrong signals and symptoms that should not be dismissed.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Power, Steel Development and Metallurgy, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, also decried the vacancies created by INEC in Anambra Senate seat and the postponement of other pending elections in Rivers State.
The chamber thereafter resolved to urge President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately nominate suitably qualified persons to fill the vacant positions at INEC, while it equally asked the commission to immediately conclude all pending polls in the country.