National Assembly should override Buhari’s veto on electoral bill, says #FixPolitics
Notwithstanding the National Assembly’s latest backpedal in overriding President Muhammadu Buhari on the Electoral Law Amendment Bill, #FixPolitics Initiative has insisted federal lawmakers have no alternative on the issue.
It called on them to override Buhari, in line with clearly expressed desire of the Nigerian electorate.
The group made the call in a statement, yesterday, jointly signed by the Co-Chair, Constitutional, Political and Electoral Reforms, Prof. Remi Sonaiya; the Executive Director, Anthony Ubani; and Executive Director, OrderPaper Advocacy Initiative, Oke Epia.
“The National Assembly should move swiftly with common and patriotic purpose to override the President’s veto now and pass the Electoral Amendment Bill into law with a two-third majority of its members,” it said.
Buhari had written to the National Assembly, requesting that the clause relating to direct primaries be removed from the bill.
The bill, transmitted to the President on November 19, 2021, after its passage by the Senate and House of Representatives, should, by law, be returned to the Assembly within 30 days by the President, with or without his assent, the group insisted.
“The President’s letter refusing to assent to the bill was sent on December 20, a day after the constitutionally mandated period, demonstrating a brazen attitude of disdain for the rule of law and for citizens who are supportive of the bill,” #FixPolitics noted.
Nigerians expect the National Assembly to put into effect the provision stated in Section 58(5) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), it added.
According to the section, “Where the President withholds his assent and the bill is again passed by each House by two-third majority, the bill shall become law and the assent of the President shall not be required.”
The National Assembly, the group, maintained, should be reminded that it is not an appendage, department or parastatal of the Presidency. “They are a co-equal branch of government with the executive and judiciary. Members of the National Assembly are elected by Nigerians to serve as their representatives and as a check on the excesses and likely abuse of power by the executive branch of government.”
To #FixPolitics, this latest violation of the 1999 Constitution and disregard for the needs of Nigerians by Buhari sets up a significant test of the loyalty of National Assembly members.
“Are they loyal to Buhari or to the Constitution, and by extension, to the Nigerian people in whom the 1999 Constitution invests sovereignty?” it queried.
“Enough of the arrogance of power. Enough of the impunity. Enough of the disdain for the will and needs of Nigerians and enough of the constant violation of the 1999 Constitution.
“Nigeria is a democracy. It is time for the National Assembly to rise to the call to duty, act boldly, meet the challenge of the moment and save Nigerian democracy from further erosion and dictatorial reflexes.”