Electoral Act Amendment Bill: Senate Backs Down On Overriding Buhari, Refers Bill To Constituents

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Obiajulu Joel Nwolu

The Senate on Wednesday failed to override the veto of President Muhammadu Buhari, on the Electoral Act Amendment bill.

The President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan,  after an executive session, said the lawmakers had decided to take the President’s rejection of the bill to their constituencies during Christmas and New Year holidays before deciding on the next line of action.

Buhari had withheld assent to the Electoral Act amendment bill 2021, insisting that the inclusion of the mandatory direct primaries in the bill might pose financial, legal and security challenges.

While the House of Representatives led by Femi Gabajabiamila had resolved to debate the matter after they returned from recess in January, the Senate remained adamant even as 73 senators reportedly resolved to override the President’s veto.

Read Also: Electoral Act Amendment: Buhari Returns Bill To NASS, Faults Direct Primaries, Cites Insecurity

It was learnt that the leadership of the House was waiting on the Senate to override the President’s veto and then the Reps would follow suit. This information, it was learnt, had been communicated to Lawan.

Nigerian-Senate

Aware of the plan to override the President’s veto, several governors of the All Progressives Congress relocated to Abuja and began lobbying Lawan and some other influential lawmakers.

A top source said, “Many APC governors relocated to Abuja over this matter. The lobbying was led by Governor Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti) and  Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Lawan assured them that the President would not be embarrassed.”

At plenary on Wednesday, Lawan said the chamber would consult with the House of Representatives on how to respond to the President’s decision to veto the bill.

Lawan made this known after the Senate emerged from an executive (closed-door) session to deliberate on the President’s decision to withhold assent to the electoral bill passed by the National Assembly.

He noted that the provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) do not permit the chamber to exclusively take any action on overriding a Presidential veto in the absence of the House.

Lawan stated that a joint position would be reached with the House after due consultation with Nigerians to determine the appropriate line of action, after both chambers reconvene from the Christmas and New Year break.

Source: Punch

This post was written by Obiajulu Joel Nwolu.

The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.

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