Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Senate, House consult as Buhari rejects elections reordering

The Nigerian Senate and the House of Representatives are consulting on whether to override President Muhammadu Buhari's veto to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, which seeks to re-order the sequence of polls in 2019.

The president in a March 8, 2018, letter written to both chambers of the National Assembly said the amendments by the lawmakers were in conflict with existing laws.

President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, and the speaker, Yakubu Dogara, have both read the letters to the Senate and the House of Representatives respectively.

After receiving the letter, members of the House and senators began consulting on the next line of action, The Punch reports.

Lawmakers had hinted before now that they would override the president’s veto.

"The President has played his own part,” a member of the House of Representatives who spoke on condition of anonymity told the newspaper.

“He kept to the constitutional provision of within 30 days by writing to the National Assembly.

“On our part, we have to consult. This is not the type of issue you rush to take decisions.

“The consultations will cut across party and zonal caucuses for members to take a position on the next line of action.”

Another source said Buhari’s letter was discussed by the Senate at a 25-minute closed-door session but that the lawmakers did not reach a conclusion.

The source, who is in the PDP caucus, said the 43 members of the PDP are supporting the move to override Buhari, in addition to the over 20 APC senators backing the move.

Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has criticised President Muhammadu Buhari for withholding his assent to a proposed legislation by the national assembly to change the sequence of 2019 general elections in the country.

Premium Times reports that the party in a statement on Tuesday, March 13, signed by Kola Ologbodiyan, its national publicity secretary, said it believes in the power of the legislature to make necessary amendments to strengthen democracy.

It was gathered that Buhari rejected the proposed amendments to Nigeria’s electoral act in a letter addressed to the speaker of House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, and to the Senate President Bukola Saraki.

The president stated among other reasons that the amendments infringe on the rights of INEC.

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