OrderPaperToday – Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the House of Representatives has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to immediately commence creation of additional constituencies across the country as enshrined in the 1999 constitution (as amended).

The resolution was sequel to a motion presented by the Minority Leader, Mr. Ndudi Elumelu (PDP, Delta) during plenary session on Wednesday.

The House resolved that INEC should take into consideration Aniocha/Oshimili federal constituency in Delta state which has 4 local government areas and one of the largest federal constituencies in both population and land mass in the country by splitting it into Aniocha  north/Aniocha south federal constituency and Oshimili north/Oshimili south federal constituency.

Again, INEC was also urged to delineate Iseyin/Kajola/Iwajowa/Itesiwaju in Oyo state with 4 local government areas into Iseyin/Kajola federal constituency and Iwajowa/Itesiwaju federal constituency.

While leading debate on the motion, Elumelu noted that section 71(b) of the constitution empowers INEC to divide the federation into three hundred and sixty federal constituencies for the purpose of elections into the House of Representatives.

He argued that section 73(1) expressly directed that the electoral commission shall review the division of states of the federation into federal constituencies at intervals of not less than 10 years, and may alter the constituencies in accordance with the provisions of this section to such extent as it may consider desirable in the light of the review.

According to him, the “House of Representatives shall consist of 360 members representing 360 constituency of nearly equal population as far as possible, provided that no constituency shall fall within more than one state”.

He continued: “Since the commencement of the 4th republic till date, INEC has not deemed necessary the compliance of the above section 73(1) of the 1999 constitution thereby depriving citizens of bloated federal constituencies adequate attention.”

The opposition leader expressed worry that though the constitution provides a period of 10 years review time frame for constituency , INEC has not done any known review in the last 22 years of the current democratic dispensation, hence the urgent need to call on INEC to be alive to her responsibilities.

According to him, the reality on ground today whereby some federal constituencies are twice the size of others in both size and population is at variance with the letters and dictates of the 1999 constitution.

“This is so, because INEC has failed to live up to its responsibilities, hence the need to urgently rectify this abnormally for the sake of equitable representation,” he stressed.

He maintained that “to guarantee effective, quality and adequate representation in the House of Representatives, INEC should without delay delimit the constituencies and carve out new federal constituencies especially in constituencies covering four local government areas”.

Elumelu reasoned that “the continuous failure for INEC to live up to its responsibilities in reviewing the division of states into federal constituencies does not only portray INEC in a bad light but the entire government institution including the national assembly for also failing to call her to order and invoking adequate sanctions where necessary hence the need for this motion.”

While approving the motion, the House mandated its committee on electoral matters to interface with the leadership of INEC and report back in six weeks.

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