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Following the refusal of President Muhammadu Buhari to assent the Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2021, several groups have called on members of the National Assembly to override the president’s veto power.
Civil Society Organisations, including Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA) and YIAGA Africa, said that the bill should be given legal teeth by the parliament through a two-third majority vote of members.
CTA, in a statement by its Executive Director, Faith Nwadishi, urged the National Assembly to, in the “spirit of patriotism, upturn the President’s decision as “a way to conduct free, fair, and credible elections that will stand the taste of the time.”
The group accused President Buhari of taking interest in mundane things”that will benefit a few members of his cabal, instead of improving our elections and the integrity of the electoral process.”
“The delay until this time confirmed the fears that the provisions envisaged by the citizens and expectations thereof may be dashed by the actions of the president. Laws are made for the interest and benefit of the people and not for those in power.
“The reasoning by the President concerning the provisions on party primaries should not be held unto to truncate the wishes of Nigerians.”
YIAGA Director of Programmes, Cyntha Mbamalu, said since Buhari “is failing Nigerians,” the National Assembly ought to use its constitutional power to override him.
Mbamalu added: “The president should realise he is failing Nigerians because this is the electoral amendment that a lot of Nigerians got interested in and we have been making demands for certain things.
“There are two options. The President had a deadline yesterday. The National Assembly has the power of veto and needs to exercise that power because they are the arm of government that has the power to actually checkmate the Executive.
Human rights lawyer Mike Ozekhome (SAN) and one-time Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Vice President Monday Ubani urged federal lawmakers to override the President’s veto.
Ozekhome, who spoke on an Arise TV programme, lamented that the lawmakers seemed to be always quick to grant the President’s desires.
He, however, pointed out that Sections of the Constitution empowers them to override the President’s veto through a two-third majority vote
Ubani, who disagreed with the reasons advanced by the president, believed the lawmakers prepared the bill with the interest of Nigerians at heart and should follow it through to the end.
The lawyer added: “The National Assembly should go ahead and override the president. They should take that line of action because they are the ones that passed that Electoral Act Amendment Bill.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike differed saying that the National Assembly lacked the capacity to reverse the President’s decision.
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