Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that the proposed re-delimitation of constituencies will make elected representatives accountable to the people. This was contained in a communiqué issued by INEC at the end of a four day retreat with critical stakeholders on review of constituencies at Enugu.
In the communiqué signed by INEC chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, the electoral umpire noted that delimitation of constituencies facilitates communication, community service and ensures geographic diversity of the legislature, adding that though other factors informed the exercise, population is the foremost and pre-eminent consideration.
Participants were of the view that the exercise is delicate, daunting and prone to politicisation and that the delimitation exercise is likely to court controversy, stressing however that the challenge is to do it impartially, transparently and in a non-partisan manner.
Participant at the retreat agreed that the delimitation exercise is meant to draw electoral constituencies to engender equality and not to create additional seats at the national level and that the last constituency delimitation exercise was done in 1999 under the defunct National Electoral Commission of Nigeria (NECON) under a military context and that what was done then has been a subject of severe criticism for manifesting features which are at variance with international best practices, including mal-apportionment and other inequalities that challenge in a fundamental manner, the principle of equal representation.
“That one of the major flaws identified with previous efforts at review of constituency delimitation was inadequate engagement with major critical stakeholders. That in any delimitation exercise it is wise and prudent to consider such good practices as administrative and traditional boundaries, cultural affinity, natural frontiers and physical features. That the configuration of electoral boundaries have a major impact on the outcome of elections”, the communique said in part.