Electoral Amendment Bill: We can’t proceed on our own, says Senate President Lawan

December 22, 2021
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The President of the Senate Ahmad Lawan says the upper chamber will consult with the House of Representatives on how to respond to President Muhammadu Buhari’s rejection of the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill.

Mr Lawan disclosed this after a closed-session of the Senate on Wednesday after Mr Buhari withheld assent to the electoral bill passed by the National Assembly.

“Presently, the House of Reps has gone on recess and like we all know, the constitutional provision is for the Senate and House of Representatives to jointly take the appropriate action,” he said 

The senate president held that 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.

“The Senate also in the closed session discussed how to respond to the letter from Mr President on the electoral bill amendment,” Mr Lawan said, explaining what transpired during their secret meeting.

“The Senate consequently resolved to consult with the House of Representatives in January when both the Senate and House will be in session.

“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.”

Mr Buhari in the letter dated December 13, had explained that his decision to withhold assent to the electoral bill was informed by advice from relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government after a thorough review.

According to Mr Buhari, signing the bill into law would have serious adverse legal, financial, economic and security consequences on the country, particularly in view of Nigeria’s peculiarities.

He had  added that it would also impact negatively on the rights of citizens to participate in the government as constitutionally ensured.

(NAN)

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