The House of Representatives Committee on Electoral Matters on Wednesday, December 6, expressed displeasure over the failure of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to appear before it to defend its 2024 budget estimates.
The chairman of the committee, Hon. Adebayo Balogun said at the budget defence meeting that the commission did not communicate its inability to appear for the budget defence to them.
He said: “It’s unfortunate that INEC is not here and that is not a good way to start a new administration, especially not when the President gave a matching order that he wants to maintain the January to December budget circle.
“I don’t know what has caused their inability to be here. I have personally been working to ensure the integrity of INEC which was battered during the last election is restored. This committee is working on reforms that will restore the credibility of the Commission.
“I want to believe that there will be a genuine reason for their inability to appear before the committee to defend their budget.
“I learnt that the envelope they were given came to them as a shock because they were given less than what they got last year and that is the more reason why they should have been here.”
Before the scheduled 3.00 pm time for the commission to appear for the budget defence, the chief press secretary to the INEC chairman, Rotimi Oyekunmi told The Nation that the scheduled appearance before the committee had been rescheduled for next week.
In response to a WhatsApp message, he said: “I understand that the appearance has been moved to next week.”
However, when informed of the anger of the committee members about the non-appearance of the commission, Oyekunmi expressed surprise that the Committee was not aware of why the commission did not appear.
He said: “That was not our understanding. You know that the chairman does not joke about things like this. I will inform the Chairman about this development.”
At the time of this report, the Committee went into an executive session to decide the next line of action.