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PDP rep asks house to override Buhari on electoral bill

PDP rep asks house to override Buhari on electoral bill
June 15
13:28 2022

Benjamin Igbakpa, member of the house of representatives, has asked the house to override President Muhammadu Buhari for his refusal to assent to the amended Electoral Act, 2022.

The lawmaker representing Ethiope federal constituency of Delta state and member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), spoke on the floor of the lower legislative chamber on Wednesday.

The national assembly had passed a bill seeking to enable statutory delegates to vote at party conventions and congresses.

The bill was subsequently transmitted to Buhari for assent on May 13.

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But Buhari refused to assent to the bill, compelling political parties to use only elected delegates in the primaries. 

The 1999 constitution empowers the national assembly — with two-third majority votes— to veto the president if he declines assent to a bill.

“On the the 11th of May, you brought all of us back from our various constituency so that we can work on the electoral act as amended, graciously that was done on the 11th of May. And by 12th,  this amendment was transmitted to Mr President,” he said.

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“Mr President did not just ignore, he travelled out of the country on a condolence visit to Dubai and that created a lot of problem for the country.

“Where we pass laws and we are sure that we have done the right thing, we should start overriding Mr President because this is just the beginning. Today, the NDDC Act is in force because the parliament, which you were part of, did it. Why are we afraid? Mr President has not committed any offence. What he has done is the rule of law and the constitution, and I believe by the time we do our own by overriding his veto, we would not have committed any offence.

“We would be working according to the constitution and the rule of law. I think it is time for us, before some of us leave, if we manage to come back, that this parliament must stamp its feet and tell Nigerians that we are working for them and not for party or any individual.

“Mr Speaker, I implore you as a great leader, to please, it is time, if we are sure we have done what is right to the Electoral Act 2022, rise up, take our pens, collect signatures and by the grace of God, override Mr President and give Nigerians the enabling electoral law that will stand the test of time.”

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In his remarks, Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the house, said Igbakpa should reintroduce his point of order by motion.

“Thank you for your point of order. Basically, the sum of what you said is that there is a need, in your own opinion, for the house to override the withholding of assent to the electoral amendment,” he said.

“Clearly, the constitution says he has 30 days leeway and we have since gone beyond the 30 days. But the constitution also says it is not automatic that you override, it is if you are convinced as a house that the amendment must stand.

“If you are not convinced with the arguments advanced by the president, or in this case there is really no arguments advanced, then you can override. For us to override, I believe we require two-thirds majority and it cannot be by voice vote neither can it be by way of signatures unless, of course, you have enough two-thirds by signatures; what I will suggest is that you bring the application by a formal motion on notice — perhaps tomorrow or whenever you are able to do that and we will determine whether or not this house is ready to override or not.

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“I think that is the way to go. That is the proper procedure. I appreciate your comments and I believe you are talking about the provision of statutory delegates which Honourable Toby alluded to earlier. We will go ahead. You can file your motion and hopefully we will be able to list it tomorrow or whenever the calendar permits.”

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