By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Senator Gbenga Ashafa, representing Lagos East at the Senate has expressed confidence that the progressive senators in the 8th Assembly would stand against any plan by the National Assembly to veto President Muhamadu Buhari’s refusal to once again sign the recent amendments to the Electoral Act.
The President’s latest decision came in a letter dated December 6, 2018 and addressed to both chambers of the National Assembly.
Ashafa made this assertion while speaking with newsmen after a stakeholders’ meeting of the Lagos East Chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC, at the weekend, in Epe, area of Lagos State.
Responding to questions on the next line of action for his colleagues in the Senate after the refusal of the President to assent to the the Bill, Ashafa stated, “I have had the opportunity of looking through the well thought out reasons adduced by President Buhari for not assenting to the version of the Bill which has been forwarded to him and I am quite in agreement with him.
“Both the President and the National Assembly have shown good faith in the back and forth caused principally by drafting inconsistencies, that have delayed the bill till now. We must all understand that both sides must be dispassionately painstakingly disposed to ensuring that there is no loophole in the final result of the proposed amendments, considering the sensitive nature of the Electoral Act and overarching effect of same on National security and stability of the polity.”
“It cannot be in tandem with any standard democratic ethos to introduce new rules to the field of politics less than two months to a general election, we must be fair to all concerned.”
Commenting specifically on the possibility of a Veto of the President’s decision by his colleagues, the lawmaker stated that, “It is a game of numbers and to conduct a successful veto of the president’s position, the National Assembly would require a vote by two thirds of both houses.
“I am certain that the progressive block of Senators who have already seen reason with the president would not be in support of such a veto.”
Ashafa, also used the opportunity to express confidence in the capacity of the Electoral umpire, Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to conduct a hitch free general election while also stating his belief in INEC’s neutrality.
He cited several commitments of President Buhari as well as the INEC chairman, Professor Mahmoud Yakubu to the international community, civil society and all stakeholders in the Electoral process as well as the recently concluded elections as basis for his belief.