- Nigerians who are expecting the Senate to act on the Electoral Amendment Bill will have to wait till January 2022
- After its executive session on Tuesday, December 22, the Senate said it will now wait for the House of Reps to declare its stance
- Before now, there were rumours that the senators will likely override the president's veto and pass the bill into law
National Assembly - The Nigerian Senate on Wednesday, December 22 said it will wait till January to respond to the withholding of assent to the Electoral Act (amendment) Bill by President Muhammdu Buhari.
It said the move would enable it to consult with the House of Representatives, which is presently on recess, and to seek the input of their constituents.
Senate President Ahmad Lawan disclosed this after the chamber’s executive session in Abuja.
The Nation newspaper reports that the closed-door session which commenced at about 10.36 am ended at 11.14 am.
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In a statement sent to Legit.ng, Dr. Ezrel Tabiowo, special assistant (press) to Lawan, noted that the President of the Senate said 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.
Speaking on what transpired in the closed session, Lawan said:
“The Senate in a closed session deliberated on matters relevant to the workings of the Senate in particular and, the National Assembly in general.
Full text of Buhari’s letter informing National Assembly of his refusal to sign Electoral Act Amendment Bill
“The Senate also in the closed session discussed how to respond to the letter from Mr. President on the electoral bill amendment.
“The Senate consequently resolved to consult with the House of Representatives in January when both the Senate and House will be in session.
“Presently, the House of Reps has gone or recess, and like we all know, the constitutional provision is for the Senate and House of Representatives to jointly take the appropriate action.
“The Senate also resolved to consult with our constituents during our recess in January.
“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.”
Electoral Amendment Bill: Sekibo says 73 senators ready to override Buhari's veto
Recall that Senator George Sekibo who represents River East senatorial district had earlier declared that 73 senators have indicated interest to override President Buhari’s veto of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.
Sekibo who is a member of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said signatures have been collected from the senators willing to override the president, and the signatures cut across party lines.
He made this known in an interview with a television station at the close of plenary on Tuesday, December 21.
CSOs urge National Assembly members to override Buhari on electoral bill
Recall that nine prominent Civil Society Organisations, CSOs recently expressed their disappointment at the failure of President Buhari to sign the Electoral Amendment Bill 2021.
The CSOs in a statement sent to Legit.ng stated that the withholding of assent by the president undermines public confidence and trust in Nigeria's electoral system.
They further warned that the president’s decision will have serious implications for INEC as it prepares for the FCT Area Council election, the Ekiti and Osun governorship elections, and ultimately the 2023 general elections.