The National Assembly has commenced the process to address the reservations expressed on the Electoral Act Amendment Bill by President Muhammadu Buhari, our correspondents report.
Against the calls that the lawmakers should override the president’s veto, the two chambers of the parliament disclosed their resolutions to reintroduce the bill with a view of addressing the concerns of President Buhari.
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Buhari had in a letter to the National Assembly, dated December 13, 2021, rejected the draft law over the provision of direct primaries as the sole mode of conducting political parties’ primaries.
The president had said he would assent the electoral act bill if the lawmakers provided options for the conduct of political parties’ primaries.
The lawmakers resumed from their Christmas and New Year break, on Wednesday.
In his address to his colleagues, Senate President Ahmad Lawan, said the Red Chamber would expedite action on the Electoral Act Amendment Bill following consultations with constituents on the president’s response.
Also, while speaking at the Villa, after a meeting with President Buhari, Lawan said both houses of the National Assembly will pass the bill on Wednesday. He said the bill would be ready for transmission to the president by next week.
At the House of Representatives, the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, said the House will reintroduce the electoral bill, address salient issues particularly the direct primaries clause and return it to Buhari for assent.
He said the House had worked and passed important bills including the electoral act amendment to introduce far-reaching reforms in the nation’s electoral process.
He said: “Unfortunately, that bill did not receive presidential assent, and it is unlikely that it will in its current form. Now, we have to choose between sticking to our guns regarding the provision to mandate direct primary elections for political parties or reworking that provision to save the rest of the bill.
“I remain convinced that the proposal for direct primary elections is valuable for building accountability in our political system. But we must not allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good.
“Therefore, the House will reintroduce the amendment tomorrow (today). And we will work quickly to address the mitigating concerns, pass the bill and send it back to His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari for assent.”