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Electoral Bill: Again, Senate Holds Closed-Door Session, Awaits Reps For Next Move

Linda Akhigbe and Ronke Idowu  
Updated December 22, 2021
File photo of some lawmakers during plenary in the Senate chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja.

 

Senators resumed plenary on Wednesday with another closed-door session discussing President Muhamadu Buhari’s veto on the Electoral Act Amendment bill.

The closed-door session was held for a few minutes.

At the end of the session, Senate President Ahmad Lawan said the lawmakers discussed President Buhari’s refusal to sign the Electoral Act Amendment Bill into law.

He added that the Senators have decided to wait for their colleagues in the House of Representatives to resume before taking any action as whatever step they need to take will involve the House of Representatives.

He also said the Senate will consult with their constituents and other stakeholders during the Christmas and New Year break.

Meanwhile, members of the House of Representatives are currently on holiday and their sitting has been adjourned till January next year.

READ ALSO: Buhari’s Letter Declining Assent To Electoral Act Amendment Bill Read At NASS

Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila in a speech to the lawmakers on Tuesday in Abuja to mark the adjournment of the House for the Christmas and New Year break said the House will address the matter in January 2022.

Gbajabiamila explained that the time was short to address the sensitive issue at hand in haste because members were set to proceed on break, and they must pass other important bills such as the 2022 Appropriation Bill and the Finance Bill before doing so.

President Buhari had withheld his assent to the bill citing the cost of conducting direct primary elections, security challenges, and possible manipulation of electoral processes by political actors as reasons.

The National Assembly on Tuesday read President Buhari’s letter in which he declined assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.

The letter was read at both the Senate and House of Representatives plenary session, a day after reports emerged that Buhari had declined assent to the bill.

 

Veto or Not

President Buhari’s decline to the Electoral Amendment Bill drew reactions from various quarters.

While Governors such as Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti and Samuel Ortom of Benue State lauded the President’s decision, civil society organisations (CSOs) and some federal lawmakers were clearly disappointed.

A federal lawmaker Senator George Sekibo confirmed to Channels Television on Tuesday that some senators are planning to veto President Muhammadu Buhari on the electoral act amendment bill.

He said they have compiled 73 signatures to veto the President.

The 109-member Senate will require a two-thirds majority to veto the bill into law.