News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)

INEC budget delay: Group wants `necessary steps’ from Buhari

Election Monitor

Election Monitor, a Civil Society Organisation(CSO), has reiterated its displeasure over the continued delay in passage of  the budget of the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) by the National Assembly.

Abiodun Ajijola, the group’s National Coordinator, in a statement on Monday in Abuja, said it was high time President Muhammadu Buhari took necessary steps to save the country’s democracy.

According to Ajijola, the issue on ground is a national emergency and urgent steps need to be taken immediately to remedy this perilous situation.

He said that aside being an election related issue, it was also a security issue as any crisis stemming from elections always had security implications.

He said that the argument that the budget input came in late did not defend delaying the passage of the budget for any reason moral or political because Nigeria’s sustained democracy was greater than the interest of any person or group of persons.

“The window to conduct political party primaries is already open and INEC has no budget to monitor these primaries which has implications in the future if these primaries are held without being monitored, especially in the event of disputed primaries.

“ Election Monitor does not accept any attempt to truncate the hard-fought democracy of Nigeria and therefore calls on the National Assembly to expedite action on the complete passage of the 2019 General Elections budget before the end of Aug. 2018 which includes reconvening the National Assembly.

“In the event of a failure to do this, Election Monitor calls on President Buhari to step necessary to save Nigeria from an impending political crisis which would certainly have grave security implications for which he has a fundamental responsibility to all Nigerians.

“National security is primary and every government is first expected to secure the lives and property of its citizens and delaying passage of an election budget is tantamount to delaying the elections which has a last date that it can be legally conducted.

“Therefore since this is inherently a security situation the President should treat it as such,’’ he said.

The national coordinator called on Nigerians to reject the antics of political actors who were not concerned with the impact of their actions on the average Nigerian on the street.

The request for virement and supplementary input to the 2018 budget was made on July 11 and read on the Senate floor on July 17.