The Senate on Wednesday failed to override President Muhammadu Buhari’s veto on the 2010 Electoral Act (amendments) Bill 2021.
The upper legislative chamber, which had begun to collect signatures with a view to overriding the president’s veto, made tLA u-turn when members emerged from a 40-minute closed session.
Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, explained after the executive session that the upper chamber had decided to consult with members of the House of Representatives on the matter.
According to him, since the House had gone on recess and the constitution prescribes that both chambers should take a joint decision on the matter, it would be proper for them to wait till January before any action could be taken.
Lawan also said the Senate in the closed session agreed that members should consult with their constituencies who are critical stakeholders in the electoral process.
The Senate had on Tuesday, adjourned plenary till today (Wednesday), to enable them to override the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on the 2010 Electoral Act (amendments) Bill 2021.
“In a closed session, the senate deliberated on matters relevant to the workings of the senate in particular and the national assembly in general,” he said.
“The senate, also in the closed session, discussed how to respond to the letter by Mr President on the electoral bill amendment.
“The senate consequently resolved to consult with the house of representatives in January both the senate and the house will be in session.
“Presently the house of representatives has gone on recess and we all know the constitutional provision to jointly take the appropriate action. The senate also resolved to consult with our constituents.”
Many senators had expressed dissatisfaction with Buhari’s decision to veto the bill of over the provision for direct primary among other reasons.
Buhari’s position was conveyed in a letter addressed to the Senate President which was read during the start of the plenary after the chamber came out from its first closed session.
The closed session which lasted for 37 minutes started at exactly 10:44 am and ended at 11:21 am.
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 on the rights of citizens to participate in the government as constitutionally ensured.
The Senate later dissolved into a closed session at 1:57 pm on Tuesday to discuss the reasons given by the President, for declining assent to the 2010 Electoral Act (amendments) Bill 2021.
The Senator representing Rivers East, George Sekibo, raised a point of order asking the Senate to go to a closed session to discuss the issue.
The Senate President sustained Sekibo’s point of order and the closed session commenced by 1.57 pm.