By Taiye Agbaje
The House of Representatives on Wednesday, urged Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to adjust dates for Presidential and National Assembly primaries ahead of 2019 elections.
The call was sequel to a motion by Rep. Balarabe Salame (Sokoto-APC) at plenary in Abuja.
The lawmakers also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill before him.
Moving the motion, Salame said that it had become necessary for INEC to adjust the dates for the primaries because they had been scheduled for Aug. 18, two days before Arafat Day coming up on Aug. 20 and Aug. 21.
He said that conduct of the primaries would hinder many Muslim politicians who had planned to attend the Arafat Day.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Arafat Day is one of the fundamental rites preparatory to Hajj.
”The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had recently announced timetable for the 2019 General Elections and the schedule of its activities.
”According to the INEC timetable, the Presidential and National Assembly primaries will begin on Aug. 18, 2018.
”It is of concerned that the timetable scheduled by INEC for the commencement of Presidential and National Assembly primaries will be two days before Arafat.
“This will begin in the evening of Monday, Aug. 20, 2018 and end in the evening of Tuesday, Aug. 21, subject to a little variation of dates.
”The House is aware that observance of Arafat day is one of the major cardinals of hajj, the non-performance of which will make the pilgrimage incomplete.
”There is worry that the time scheduled by INEC for the conduct of such primaries will create a lot of inconvenience for Nigerian Muslim pilgrims participating in the primaries,” he said.
When the Speaker, Mr Yakubu Dogara, put the motion to a voice vote, it was unanimously adopted by members.