By Johnbosco Agbakwuru

PRESIDENT of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, yesterday, expressed optimism that President Muhammadu Buhari would sign into law the Electoral Act Amendment Bill pending before him.

Lawan also said the President would not be influenced by any external force to perform his duties on the bill, adding that he (Buhari) would follow the due process in the discharge of his functions.

He equally assured that the 2022 Appropriation Bill would be passed by the National Assembly before Christmas break.

Speaking with State House correspondents after meeting with President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Lawan said the two chambers of the National Assembly always make wide consultations to have the view of majority of the people.

On the reason for his visit to the State House, he said: “Well, I have come to meet Mr. President. You know, our engagement with Mr. President is a continuous one. And as a leader of the country and as the leader of our party, there are so many things we can come here to consult with Mr. President.

“I had engagement with him on the current situation in the National Assembly, what we are doing in our budget and we hope that by the middle of December, or before Christmas, we should be able to consider and pass the budget by the grace of God. Work has reached a very commendable level, as we expected on that.

“Also, you know that we have impending issues in our party. We have our congresses still to be conducted in few states, about two or three. And, of course, going forward, how we are able to reconcile the different shades of opinions that disagree in the party.

“You will recall that the party, with the endorsement of Mr. President, had constituted a national reconciliation committee under the chairmanship of Senator Abdullahi Adamu. We are very optimistic that that committee with all other leaders in the party, will be able to embark on one to one discussion with our people in different parts of the country who might have had some disagreements.

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“You also know that we have legislation that are awaiting the consideration of Mr. President, and for us in the legislature, we’ve finished our job of passing the bills, particularly the Electoral Act Amendment Bill. It is now for Mr. President, to engage with his assistants and those who normally advise him, for him to take the next most appropriate action.”

“We are also very desirous of ensuring that the the APC is so stable before the Congress, the convention because we want our convention to be hitch free convention. We want every member of this party who comes to attend the convention to do so with a clear mind.

“That whoever becomes the Chairman, for example, whatever leadership emerges, is a leadership that has the respect of everyone in the party, because we want Mr. President to continue to work with a solid and strong party, APC. We want this administration, and President Muhammadu Buhari to continue to do the very good work it is doing across the country and consolidate at the end of his tenure.”

Asked how the party would ensure stability especially as the governors who are opposed to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, Lawan said: “Well, I don’t know, when you say on the bill on mode of election. Whether it’s a provision in the bill, the Electoral Act Amendment Bill Well, you see, sometimes this kind of disagreement happens.”

On how soon the president will sign the bill, Lawan said: “You see, there is no need for you to lobby for any bill to be signed. If you are the chairman of the National Assembly, you are simply a presiding officer, and you coordinate the views of your colleagues.

”The majority of my colleagues in the Senate and in the House of Representatives say this is where they want the bill to go. This is the provision they want in Section 52, 3 rather. So I don’t have to come and say Mr. President sign this.

“We expect that he will sign, but how he does that is his calling. And I think we should allow him to just follow the processes he is used to, but the expectation of members of National Assembly is that the bill is signed.”

“I don’t think there will be any day that you will have a political issue that everybody will say the same thing about it that agrees with you without any amendment. So when we have any section of a party disagreeing with something we should be engaging that’s why we are politicians, we must have that kind of a platform where we discuss the issues, let’s understand each other, and then we make whatever it is that will make this disagreement minimized.

“So I don’t think it is right to say that governors have disagreed. Maybe some governor’s might have said they don’t like it this way. But that’s normal. So it’s for us to engage and engage and engage. And I believe that.”

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