Published On: Thu, Aug 23rd, 2018

Buhari Can Invoke Doctrine Of Necessity To Approve Fund For INEC, Says Sagay

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By Sadiq Umar – Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), Itse Sagay, says the federal government can invoke the doctrine of necessity to bye-pass the National Assembly to fund the 2019 elections should the federal lawmakers fail to approve the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) budget.

President Muhammadu Buhari had forwarded for NASS’ approval a budget of N242 billion shortly before the parliament embarked on their annual recess on July 24.

However, there have been accusations and counter-accusations between the executive and the legislature over what the former said was a deliberate attempt on the part of the Bukola Saraki-led senate leadership to delay the passage of the INEC budget, citing the long recess as plot to frustrate Mr. Buhari.

Similarly, Mr. Saraki had said the executive should be blamed for any delay, questioning why it had to wait till July to submit budget for an election that is less than 7-months way.

But Mr. Sagay said in a statement there could be the invocation of the principle of doctrine of necessity to enable the president spent money without NASS approval.

According to the erudite lawyer if elections are not held, there will be a collapse of the country’s democracy.

“The failure or refusal by the National Assembly to approve funds for the 2019 election will constitute a sabotage of our democracy, of which the constitution is the embodiment,” the statement read.

“If elections are not held, it will mean the collapse of our democracy, leading to chaos and anarchy. The question that arises is simple. Which is more critical to democracy and the survival of Nigeria: Is it (one) the power of the National Assembly to approve budgets or (two) the survival of democracy and Nigeria itself? he argued.

“If the survival of democracy is more important and fundamental to Nigeria’s existence, then failure to approve the budget for elections will trigger the doctrine of necessity, thus compelling the funding of election without the approval of the National Assembly.

“It is simply a question of the survival of democracy and the continued existence of Nigeria. The power of approval of budget is just a single item in the whole of the constitution.

“On the contrary, elections and democracy which they support, constitute what the whole constitution is about. Therefore, the overriding necessity and imperative of elections and democracy simply override the power of National Assembly.

“If the National Assembly refuses or fails to approve the budget for election, the doctrine of necessity will validate the provision of the funds without the National Assembly’s approval.”

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