ANPP wants Jonathan stopped on troops-for-polls
THE House of Representatives yesterday initiated move for the creation of more federal constituencies and senatorial districts in the country.
It asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to strengthen the action by reviewing the existing constituencies and the National Population Commission (NPC) to begin the preparation for another head-count in 2016.
The Lower Chamber mandated its Committee on Electoral Matters to liaise with INEC to bring the move into fruition in accordance with the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
At present, Nigeria has 360 federal constituencies and 109 senatorial districts in the country.
A motion by Mohammed Ango Abdullahi on the need to review the constituencies was unanimously adopted by the House as the lawmakers said that with the persistent increase in the nation’s population, it was time to review the constituencies.
“The need to have more senatorial and federal constituencies is to safeguard the interest of the people socially, economically and politically at the federal level. This will also check the burden of the National Assembly members, who have two, three, or four local councils as a federal constituency without consideration to its population density or seven, eight, nine, 10 or 14 councils as senatorial districts for a senator without consideration to its population density in their respective constituencies,” Abdullahi said.
The Speaker, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, who presided at the plenary session, directed the panel to report back to the House within four weeks.
Abdullahi had predicated his motion on Section 73 (1) of the 1999 Constitution, which states that “INEC shall review the division of states and that of the federation into senatorial districts and federal constituencies at intervals of not less than 10 years and may alter the districts or constituencies in accordance with the provisions of this section to such extent as it may consider desirable in the light of review.”
The lawmaker submitted that the population of the country was increasing at a yearly growth rate of 3.18 per cent from 2006 census, which stood at 140, 003, 542.
He argued that a new population census would provide a true reflection of the population of senatorial and federal and state constituencies.
Abdullahi further noted that the National Population Census Act of the National Assembly provided that population census be carried out every 10 years, and stressed the need for the National Population Commission to start preparation now to ascertain the population of the country in 2016.
Meanwhile, the National Chairman of the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP), Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, has canvassed the review of the Constitution stripping President Goodluck Jonathan the power to deploy soldiers in future elections.
While inaugurating the ANPP Board of Trustees in Abuja yesterday, Onu said the request was aimed at ensuring that soldiers do not dance to the dictates of the President who is an interested party in most elections in the country.
He believed that security coverage at the polls would be enhanced if the police were well-equipped.
Onu said: “Permit me to use this opportunity to call for the review of the Electoral Act to place control of the use of the military during elections on INEC Chairman and not the President, who is an interested party during elections being a leader of a political party.
“It is important for me to state that in the new ANPP, we frown at the use of the military during elections. The responsibility of enforcing law and order is that of the Nigeria Police.”
Onu described the occasion of the inauguration of BoT of the ANPP headed by former Borno State Governor Ali Modu Sherrif as another milestone in the party’s journey towards a new beginning.