Electoral Act amendment Bill: Angry Senators move to override Buhari, collect signatures to veto President

As Senate Refuses to pass 2022 Budget over the withholding of his assent

Some aggrieved senators have started collecting signatures to override President Buhari’s veto of the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill.

According to Senator George Sekibo, while speaking at the National Assembly complex yesterday,
irked by the President’s decision, about 73 signatures of aggrieved lawmakers have been collated, adding that there is no going back on the decision to override President Buhari on the Electoral Bill.

Prior to a brief interview with newsmen after the Senate’s plenary, Senator Sekibo had earlier forced the upper chamber to go into a closed session, after citing Order-14 of the Senate Rules which deals with members’ privileges.

Sekibo further hinted that the lawmakers will not take the matter with levity, as according to him, they were convinced about the provision, which has become controversial, that political parties must adopt direct primaries as a mode of conducting their election to elect candidates for election.

There are 109 Senators in the upper chamber and it will require the constitutional number of a two-thirds majority to override the president.

Recall that President Buhari had sent a letter to both chambers of the National Assembly citing likely crisis, cost, and difficulty with direct primaries for political parties as his reason for withholding his assent, requesting the legislators to rework it before reforwarding same to him.

It will be the second time the president will be rejecting such an amendment, the first being in 2018, when he said it was too close to an election.

With the senate sitting today, (Wednesday), for another plenary, observers say all eyes will be on the upper chamber to see if what Sekibo has said will scale through.

Meanwhile, the Senate, earlier yesterday refused to pass the 2022 Appropriation Bill (budget) over the president’s withholding of his assent to the Electoral Bill and the inclusion of direct primary election.

The chairman of the Appropriation Committee, Barau Jibrin, had on Monday told newsmen that the Budget would be passed yesterday, and it was reportedly scheduled on the Order Paper. The Finance Bill amendment, which is a forerunner to passing the 2022 Budget, was adequately captured in the business of the day.

However, the senators, apparently not happy over the president’s action, had a change of mind over the passage of the Budget.

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