18th January, 2022
By Naomi Sharang
The Senate indicated on Tuesday that it has no plan to override President Muhammadu Buhari’s veto on the Electoral Act (Amendment Bill) 2021 contrary to the call by some stakeholders, including the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Speaking after a closed-door session which lasted for an hour, nine minutes, Senate President Ahmad Lawan said rather, the lawmakers will look into the aspects of the Bill which the President complained about and re-forward it to him for assent.
Lawan who spoke while welcoming parliamentarians from the Christmas and New Year recess on Tuesday during plenary said the Senate will expeditiously look into the issues raised by President Muhammadu Buhari on the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, 2021.
The president of the senate said “we all know the Senate and indeed the National Assembly worked so hard on the Bill.
“Having consulted, the Senate will expeditiously look into the issues,” he said.
Buhari had in a letter dated Dec. 13, 2021, written to the Senate President said he is withholding assent to the Bill passed by the National Assembly.
The president had explained that 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.
“Part of the objective of the Bill is the amendment of the present Section 87 of the Electoral Act, 2010 to delete the provision for the conduct of indirect primaries in the nomination of party candidates such that party candidates can henceforth only emerge through direct primaries.
“The conduct of direct primaries across the 8,809 wards across the length and breadth of the country will lead to a significant spike in the cost of conducting primary elections by parties.”
On the implementation of the 2022 Budget, Lawan urged the senators to strategise on effective oversight.
“This is going to be the last budget that will be fully implemented for 12 months in the life of the ninth Senate. We therefore, need to supervise very closely,’’ Lawan said.
On funding of the budget, Lawan said that the 2022 Budget was predicated on significant borrowing.
“Our country is caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.
“We have to construct and provide infrastructure in all parts of our country because infrastructure is needed for our nation to develop.”
He, however, said that until more revenues were generated, the country would have to borrow and also resort to other sources of funding infrastructural development.
“But we cannot continue to borrow endlessly. It is imperative that we need to improve on the revenue to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio.’’
On security, the president of the senate said “the security situation in our country is still dire.
“We must remain focused and determined to work with the Executive and also continue to support our armed forces and security agencies.’’
He further said that the report of the Senate Committee on Review of the 1999 Constitution would be presented to the Senate soon.