Electoral Bill 2021: Senate back down its threat to override President Buhari

The Senate of Federal Republic of Nigeria, on Wednesday, back down on its threat  to veto  President Muhammadu Buhari refusal to sign the Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2021.

About 75 senators were said to have agreed in principle on Tuesday to collection of  signatures  preparatory to overriding presidential veto of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, 2021.

Tension was palpable before opening of plenary which made the senators go straight into a closed session after the opening prayer was said by Senate President, Ahmad Lawan at 10.33 am.

However, on resumption from the closed session, about 40 minutes later, Lawan announced that “the Senate discussed the workings of the Senate in particular and the National Assembly in general”.

He said the Senate also in a close session “discussed the way forward on how the Senate could respond to Mr. President on electoral bill amendment.

“The Senate consequently resolved to consult with the House of Representatives in January when both Senate and House of Representatives would be in session.

“Presently, the House of Representatives has gone on recess and we all know the provision is for the Senate and the House of Representatives to jointly take the appropriate action”.

According to the Senate President, the provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) does not permit the upper chamber to exclusively take any action on such matters in the absence of the House of Representatives, since the latter has embarked on recess.

He, however, assured that a joint position would be reached with the House after due consultation with Nigerians to determine the appropriate line of action when both chambers reconvene from the Christmas break in January.

“The Senate also resolved to consult with our constituents during the recess. The Senate believes that our constituents have a role to play as the major stakeholders in the laws that we make in the National Assembly”.

President Buhari in the letter dated December 13, 2021, had explained that his decision to withhold assent to the electoral bill was informed by advice from relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government after a thorough review.

According to the President, signing the bill into law would have serious adverse legal, financial, economic and security consequences on the country, particularly in view of Nigeria’s peculiarities.

He added that it would also impact negatively on the rights of citizens to participate in the government as constitutionally ensured.