Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara on Tuesday, assured that funds for the conduct of the 2019 general elections is not under threat as there is already provision to take care of such contingencies that may arise in the service wide votes.
The speaker said while speaking with journalists at the National Assembly that there is about N300 billion service wide votes provision in the 2018 budget that can be used to service the forthcoming general elections.
He reaffirmed that as custodians of the mandate of the Nigerian people, the House of Representatives considers issues affecting Nigerians top priority, adding that all pending matters before the National Assembly, including the passage of the amendments to the Electoral Act would be given accelerated attention.
“You see we are servants of the people by our calling as representatives of Nigerians and we don’t have the right to put our interests forward before the interests of the people.
“We are here to serve the public good; these issues are outstanding and it was never going to be threatened in any way as was widely perceived because we have a provision in the budget for service -wide votes of about N300 billion and whatever was the emergency would have been met from that service – wide funds that we have allocated in the budget.
“As we are back, we have set ourselves to accomplish what is there in the interest of the people. Even if it means in a day or two, we will accomplish that, even if it means handling it as we did for the ease of doing business bills.
“There were times that within a week we went through the first, second and third reading and passed it into law just because we saw the need for us to expand the economic space and improve citizen participation and wealth creation and the expansion of our economy, especially during these days of economic recession.
“So nothing is impossible and I can assure you that as soon as we get the reports submitted from the various committees, hopefully within the week, in no time, we should be able to deal with them.
“Whether it is the Electoral Act or the funding for elections and the appropriate funds for INEC are approved and I can assure you that in no time, even if it is to be done within a day, we are committed to doing it because the only thing that guarantees democracy is free, fair and transparent elections.
“As politicians because we are aware that there are times when you will run into occasions when the will of the people in the process of transmitting their consent into government positions are truncated.
“It will not serve the interest of democracy. So whatever is needed, apart from even these two issues that we have spoken of, we are committed to passing and dealing with them in no time to ensure that we have very credible, fair and transparent elections in 2019,” Dogara stated.