The House of Representatives on at its plenary on Wednesday questioned the powers of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to declare elections inconclusive.
The federal lawmakers’ enquiry comes after the electoral umpire declared six governorship elections conducted on Saturday as inconclusive, while suspending the entire process in Rivers State indefinitely.
A collective inquisition began of the situation began after Sunday Karimi, a lawmaker from Kogi State under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), raised the motion as that of urgent national importance at plenary on Wednesday.
According to Karimi, the declaration of elections as inconclusive by INEC erodes the confidence of Nigerians in the electoral system.
“Inconclusive election has become a demon haunting the Nigeria electoral system, eroding the confidence of the electorate in the electoral system and has become a tool for subverting the will of the people during elections in Nigeria,” he said.
Another lawmaker, Muhammad Soba from Kaduna State, said INEC lacks the powers to declare an election inconclusive after the results have been declared at the polling units.
“Regarding any result announced at the polling unit, nobody has the power to cancel such results. Once the result has been declared at the polling unit, no one can interfere at even the ward level let alone the state collation centre,” he said.
Femi Gbajabiamila, the Majority Leader, however, clarified the position of the law, stating that the Supreme Court empowered INEC to declare inconclusive elections.
He lamented that inconclusive elections should be a thing of the past and recommended that the House amend the Electoral Act in order to limit the powers of INEC.
“Inconclusiveness should be something of the past but how do we get there? Amending the electoral law to limit the powers of INEC.”
“The supreme court already ruled on this and said INEC has such powers; so the only way to change the supreme court ruling is to amend our law.
“Within a matter of weeks or one week, let us set up a crack team to amend the Electoral Law to limit the powers of INEC,” Gbajabiamila said.
At the end of deliberations, the House resolved to set up a committee to examine the Electoral Act with a view to amending the law.