- As Voting Machines at Chamber have been tested
By Henry Umoru, Abuja
SENATORS have dissolved into a closed-door session to deliberate on the letter of President Muhammadu Buhari and take a position on the withholding of assent to the 2021 Electoral Act Amendment bill.
Soon after the Senate resumed plenary Wednesday, the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan at 10.36 called for an Executive session.
Apparently out to override President Buhari’s veto on the Electoral Act Amendment bill, the machines at the hallowed Chamber have already been tested to ascertain whether or not they are working and the board showed clearly that the machines are in good order.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on Tuesday written the Senate and the House of Representatives, withholding assent to the 2021 Electoral Act Amendment bill that was passed by the National Assembly.
President Buhari in the letter withheld assent to the bill citing the imposition of Direct primaries as approved by the National Assembly, the National Assembly for picking candidates by political parties in the amended Electoral Act as a violation of the spirit of democracy.
According to Buhari, with Direct primaries, there will be a plethora of litigation from party members and stakeholders, just as he said that allowing the process would fuel corruption as well as encourage over monetization.
He also said that he was withholding assent to the Bill based on Direct primaries because it would cause a huge financial burden on political parties, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the economy and security agencies, adding that the process is undemocratic.
President Buhari’s position was conveyed in a letter addressed to both the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan and the Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila and read during the start of plenary yesterday.
President Buhari in the letter dated December 13, 2021, 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 the President, 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 added that it would also impact negatively the rights of citizens to participate in the government as constitutionally ensured.