Amended Electoral Bill: House of Reps May Veto President’s Decline of Assent

Some members of the House of Representatives may have resolved to veto the President on the amended electoral bill.
Recall that the President had, last week, declined giving his presidential assent to the bill, citing the timing as a principal reason.
According to the President, signing a new electoral bill into law barely three months to the scheduled 2019 general election could spur confusion and uncertainty.
“I am declining assent to the bill principally because I am concerned that passing a new electoral bill this far into the electoral process for the 2019 general election which commenced under the 2015 Electoral Act could create some uncertainty about the applicable legislation to govern the process. Any real or apparent change to the rules this close to the election may provide an opportunity for disruption and confusion in respect of which law governs the electoral process”, the President said in a letter addressed to the Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara.
But in their different reactions, some members of the House who spoke on Sunday said that the House was likely to commence the process of overriding the President on his decision next week.
The lawmaker representing Pankshin/Kanke/Kanam Federal Constituency of Plateau State, Hon. Golu Timothy said that the House would embark on the process of vetoing the President, otherwise Nigeria’s electoral process would be as good as being operated without the innovative card reader.
He said: “Yes by God’s grace or we revert to old order of elections without card readers.”
For Hon. Sunday Karimi, the lawmaker representing Yagba East/Yagba West/Mopa-muro federal constituency of Kogi State, the bill has been politicized.
He however insisted that it was necessary to sign it into law if Nigeria was ready for free and fair polls next year.
“The bill has been highly politicized. We might not be able to get the required numbers to veto. To ensure a free, fair transparent election, we need the new electoral bill signed into law”, he said.
For Hon. Ehiozuwa Johnson Agbonayinma, representing Egor/Ikpobaoka constituency of Edo State, they would again take another look at the bill to know why the President has declined his assent, with a view to overriding him through the required two third majority.
He said “In a case like this, the National Assembly has passed the bill and Mr. President has refused to assent to it. We must look at the reason why Mr. President is saying no. I don’t believe he is saying no to all the various sections, provisions of the bill. There might be some areas he is not haply with. We must look at holistically. If the majority decides to say yes, this is the way we should go, we can now sit down and say let’s veto it and pass the bill by using the two third majority to pass it into law. We must also remember that we have APC, PDP, APGA, et, in the house. We must consult each other.
“But I must add that it is possible Mr. President has resolved to involve the Nigerian people, reason he has said he will look at the bill after the elections.”
The lawmaker however regretted that the opposition party was vilifying the President on the account of his decision.

Author: News Editor

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