Reps urge INEC to commence review of state constituencies nationwide

Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the House of Representatives on Tuesday urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to embark on the upward review of state constituencies across the country in line with the provisions of Sections 112 to 114 of the 1999 Constitution.

The resolution followed a motion sponsored by Hon, Ajibola Muraina and 13 other lawmakers from Oyo State on the need to review upward the number of state constituencies in Oyo State.

Hon. Muraina pointed out that section 112 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) provides that INEC shall divide every state into such number of state constituencies as is equal to three or four times the number of federal constituencies within the state.

He added that Section 91 of the same constitution provides that the House of Assembly of a state shall consist of three or four times the number of seats the state has in the House of Representatives divided in a way to reflect, as far as possible, nearly equal population, provided that a House of Assembly of a state shall consist of not less than twenty–four and not more than forty members.

According to him, section 114 of the constitution also provides that INEC shall review the division of every state into constituencies at intervals of not less than ten years, and may alter such constituencies under the provisions of the section to such extent as it may consider desirable in the light of the review.

He explained that currently, Oyo State has 32 state constituencies and 14 federal constituencies, adding that to comply with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution as amended, the number of state constituencies in Oyo State should be increased to 40, being the maximum threshold prescribed by the constitution.

According to him, “since the inception of the present democratic dispensation on May 29, 1999, INEC has failed to review the number of state constituencies in Oyo State as prescribed by the constitution which is the supreme law of the federation and its provisions are binding on all authorities and persons in Nigeria.

“The failure or refusal of INEC to comply with the provisions of the constitution deprives the people of Oyo State of equitable and fair representation in the State House of Assembly.”

The lawmaker argued that the discharge of this constitutional duty by INEC was subject to the consequential approval of the National Assembly, hence, the process should be commenced and concluded before the statutory periods prescribed for the conduct of the next general election in Nigeria, which may hold in the first quarter of 2021.

The House, however, amended the prayers by Hon Agunsoye Oluwarotimi, (APC-Lagos) and supported by Hon Suleiman Aminu (APC-Kano) to include all states of the federation and mandated the Committee on Electoral Matters to ensure compliance and report back within six weeks for further legislative action.

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