BY JOHNBOSCO AGBAKWURU
ABUJA – THE National Assembly, NASS, may consider the option of overriding President Goodluck Jonathan on the State of the Nation Bill which the presidency returned to the federal legislatures before they commenced their vacation.
The Deputy Senate President, Senate Ike Ekweremadu while fielding questions from Journalists in Abuja yesterday, on the position of the State of the Nation Bill which was passed into law but was not assented to by the president said that deliberations on the bill was not concluded before the lawmakers proceeded on the vacation.
Senator Ekweremadu said that President Goodluck Jonathan made some observations and returned the bill to the National Assembly and that they did not conclude on how to handle the situation, although he noted that two options were before them either to override the president veto or to go back and consider the observations.
He said, “The president made some observations and returned it to us, and our colleagues were not conclusive in terms of how to deal with it. We have two options available to us, one, to over ride the president’s veto because they consider it as a veto, and then pass it again, the second is to bend over backward, look at those observations and then pass it again.
“So this is what we are going to decide when we come back. But the spirit of that bill is still alive and the need for it is still there for us and the purpose it will serve is still very germane. So, we are hopeful that we will deal with it as soon as we come back as well.
“It’s becoming even more pressing that the Bill be passed, so that the president will have the opportunity to tell Nigerians what’s going on from time to time as the bill will stipulate, and then the parliament will have opportunity of debate and make recommendations to him. In that way, you will be able to see parliamentary input in governance of this country in a more constructive manner.”
The Deputy Senate President said that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, was not worried about the registration of the All Progressives Congress, APC, exuding the confidence that the ruling party would win the presidential election in 2015.
Ekweremadu said victory would be easy for the PDP because it would be having only one political opposition to contend with unlike in the past where the party was faced with several other political parties during elections.
He said that what looked like crisis in the PDP would be surmounted before the elections and that before the end of August, the National Working Committee, NWC, of the party would have been put in place to reconcile all aggrieved members.
Ekweremadu said, “Just like any other organization, we have our challenges but for us they are not insurmountable, and the convention is part of the process of dealing with what we consider to be the challenges.
“I don’t see anything as out of the ordinary, PDP is a big party once you have a big party you are going to have a lot of complex situations, so it is the ability to manage this complex situation that will determine how far you can go in the future.
“we are hopeful that we are going to surmount them believing that we are going to resolve whatever challenges we have and work as a team ahead of 2015.And once we put in place the new NWC which we have to do by the end of this month, so am very optimistic that PDP will again win the presidency in 2015.”
We are not worried. That makes the game more interesting. Usually we use to contend with several parties, now; we just have only one party to contend with, so it makes the matter much, much easier for us. And you know in Nigerian political gang up never works.
“Well you call it coalition (APC merger), I call it gang up, so they will split and come back to PDP and we will welcome them,” he stated.
The Senate Deputy Leader further said that the committee saddled to look into the Petroleum Industry Bill was still working despite the fact that the National Assembly was still on vacation.
“We are on vacation they are working, I saw the chairman this morning (yesterday), he has been working assiduously with his committee members, I believe they will have something for us by the time we come back in terms of the product of the committee work.
“So we are not lacking behind in that, it is going through the normal legislative process of the committee consideration no doubt we will give it preference when we resume as well, and you know the 2014 budget is waiting for us,” he stated.
BY JOHNBOSCO AGBAKWURU