By Levinus Nwabughiogu-Abuja
Ahead of the 2023 general election, the House of Representatives has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to commence the process of reviewing upward the number of state constituencies across the federation.
The resolution followed the consideration of a motion at Wednesday plenary which specifically called an increase in Oyo State by creating additional 8 State Constituencies to comply with the provisions of Sections 112 to 114 of the 1999 Constitution.
The motion sponsored by 14 lawmakers was however amended to reflect an upward review of state constituencies nationwide.
Moving the motion on behalf of others, Hon. Ajibola Muraina noted that “Section 112 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) provides that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) shall divide every state in the Federation into a such number of State Constituencies as is equal to three or four times the number of Federal Constituencies within the State”.
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He added that “Section 91 of the 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”.
The lawmaker further noted that “Section 114 of the Constitution 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 this section to such extent as it may consider desirable in the light of the review”.
He expressed concern that since the inception of the present democratic dispensation on 29 May 1999, INEC has failed to review the number of State Constituencies.
He said that the discharge of the 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.
Adopting the motion, the House mandated its committee on Electoral Matters to ensure compliance to the resolution and report back within 6 weeks for further legislative action.