Victory In Kwara, Others -Saraki
There are strong indications that there would a charged Executive session tomorrow following President Muhammadu Buhari’s refusal, for the fourth time, to assent to the Electoral ( Amendment) Bill 2018 which was passed by both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
The battle will be between Senators of the All Progressives Congress, APC and those of the opposition, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP as there are moves by the anti- Buhari Senators to override his veto.
Our correspondent gathered that the matter which would come up during the Executive session tomorrow where the decision of the next line of action would be taken, following the rejection of the Passed Electoral Bill, would have the Senators disagree sharply along party lines.
President Buhari’s letter where he declined signing the Electoral ( Amendment ) Bill 2018 on the grounds that it was capable of derailing preparations for 2019 elections would be read to the Senators tomorrow because the letter got to the National Assembly on Friday when there was no sitting in both chambers.
Senators on the platform of the APC who spoke separately with our correspondent have vowed that they would stop their colleagues in the PDP if there was such a move against the backdrop that the opposition party has no such required number to override the President’s veto. Speaking with newsmen on the next line of action and whether the Senators would override the President’s veto, Senator Gilbert Nnaji, PDP, Enugu East said, “
When we get to sitting, maybe in an Executive session, we will definitely decide on the next line of action.” On his part, the Deputy Minority leader, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, PDP, Taraba South, simply said that they would do that “if we have the number.”
Also speaking, a very strong supporter of President Buhari, Senator Ovie Omo- Agege, APC, Delta Central who dismissed any such move, said that there was no way they will allow Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki and the PDP Senators to carry out such an act at the Senate hallowed chamber.
Senator Omo – Agege said, “As a caucus, we the senators of APC extraction will not allow saraki and his PDP crew to humiliate Mr President. We will not allow any override.
They don’t have 73 votes in the senate to carry out their threat. “You must understand that Mr President has no problems with the content of the bill as passed. His problem is with the timing and the chaos the bill could generate where it to become law.
Those who support the bill like myself are happy that it would not be signed into law and be used.” Also speaking with newsmen, Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim, APC, Yobe East said, “President Muhammadu Buhari’s reasons for not signing it are genuine.”
On his part, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, APC, Lagos East has vowed that the Progressive Senators would block any move by the National Assembly to Veto President Muhamadu Buhari’s refusal to once again sign the recent amendments to the Electoral Act.
Meanwhile, with less than three months to the 2019 general elections, prominent Nigerians including former Vice President and Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar Sunday faulted President Muhammadu Buhari’s refusal to sign amendment to the Electoral Act, saying the development raises doubt about his pledge to conduct credible elections. President Muhammadu Buhari
The PDP candidate in a chat with newsmen yesterday said having committed himself to transparent polls; it was surprising that the first citizen would fail to take advantage of the instrument that will further enhance the credibility of the electoral process. Speaking through his media aide, Paul Ibe, Atiku described President Buhari’s decline of assent to the amendment for the fourth time as a “missed opportunity.”
He said, “President Muhammadu Buhari promised to conduct free, fair, transparent and credible elections.
He made this commitment to the European Union, the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, other international stakeholders as well as to millions of Nigerians.
“We believe that if the elections are to be credible, the process and the rules of engagement must be refined.
“President Buhari’s refusal to sign the amendment is a missed opportunity and that raises serious doubt about his commitment to credible elections.”
On his part, former Minister of Education and National Vice Chairman (South-West) of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, Professor Tunde Adeniran called on federal lawmakers to veto Mr. President’s action adding he would have his way if the lawmakers failed to garner sufficient numbers to nullify his (Buhari’s) action.
“He would have his way (refusal to sign Electoral Amendment bill into law) if the Senate is unable to raise sufficient numbers to overrule him. And once he succeeds in his self-seeking and self -serving position, the 2019 elections would be in jeopardy,” Adeniran stated.
For Mike Ozekhome, Constitutional lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, President Buhari is afraid of imminent defeat at the polls, noting that all he is out to achieve by failing to put pen to paper is to provide a suitable environment to enhance electoral manipulation to pave way for his re-election.
He said, “Buhari is obviously afraid not just of defeat, but of routing in the next presidential election. His refusal is an unveiled and desperate attempt to foist on Nigerians,the grand electoral fraud and larceny of bazaar votes we witnessed in the North West,especially in Kano in 2015.
“Recall that the then Kano Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Returning Officer was burnt to death with his entire family as soon as the results were announced.
Till date, no arrest has ever been made of the culprits who annihilated an entire family just so that a person will have power.
“That desperation has been lampooned again and again by Aisha, his very wife. The amendments were aimed at sanitizing and deodorizing the electoral process, enthrone integrity in it,transmit results automatically from the polling units to the announcement centres after parties representatives have signed and endorsed.
This prevents rigging, especially after-count rigging, when declared results are brazenly altered. “How can any genuine democrat ever be against such auspicious amendments, if not for sinister purposes? All hope is not lost.
The simple answer is for both Houses of parliament, the National Assembly to muster 2/3 majority votes to override the President under section 58 of the 1999 Constitution.”