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Senate, Reps fix 2022 for decision on rejected electoral bill

By News Desk

The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, has disclosed that lawmakers at the Red Chamber would be joining forces with their counterpart at House of Representatives in working harmoniously to take informed decision on the electoral act amendment bill which President Muhammadu Buhari withhold assent on.

He said that both arm of legislators would be working together and involve relevant stakeholders to ensure that the electoral system was reformed and deliver a credible and enduring electoral system to Nigerians.

The senate president who spoke after the upper chamber rose from a closed session where they deliberated on the issue, noted that the partnership would be formed in line with provision of the country’s constitution.

According to him, the provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) do 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 in a closed session deliberated on matters relevant to the workings of the Senate in particular and, the National Assembly in general. 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.”

It would be recalled that the president had in his letter to the lawmakers advanced reasons why he withheld assent to bill, which he returned to the National Assembly for review, adding that the action had been taking in the interest of Nigerians, particularly to eliminate rancorous political activities that could lead to violence.

Buhari argued that his decision followed informed advice he received from relevant ministries, departments and agencies of the government, adding that he also carefully reviewed the bill in light of the current realities of the country.

According to him, the conduct of elections for the nomination of party candidates solely via direct primaries as envisaged by the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2021 has serious adverse legal, financial, economic and security consequences which cannot be accommodated at the moment considering our nation’s peculiarities.

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