Opposition can’t override Buhari’s decline to Electoral Act – APC rep
Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has said the All Progressives Congress (APC) caucus in the House would scuttle any plan to override president Muhammadu Buhari’s veto of the 2018 Electoral Amendment Bill.
Speaking with journalists on Wednesday at the National Assembly, Gbajabiamila said the APC has more than the required number to stop the process.
President Buhari for the fourth time declined to assent to the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill.
Buhari said passing a new bill with elections close by could “create some uncertainty about the legislation to govern the process.”
This has attracted criticisms of Buhari from different spheres of society. Presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN) Obiageli Ezekwesili said the rejection of the bill showed Buhari is against the tenets of democracy.
To override Buhari’s decision to decline assent to the bill, the National Assembly needs the votes of, at least, two-thirds of its members.
But Gbajabiamila said the opposition parties lack the required numbers to override Buhari’s decision.
“If they are able to muster two-thirds and push it forward, there is nothing we can do. But as a party, we are not going to be part of it. And it makes no sense to override in the case of an important document,” Gbajabiamila said.
According to him, “The Constitution is very clear, it does not require the president to give a reason for a veto. All he has to do is to say I am not signing.”
The lawmaker representing Surulere federal constituency in Lagos said the president declined to assent the bill in order to enable many Nigerians to have the opportunity to vote in cases of card reader malfunction.
He said, “We have seen instances where the card readers have failed. What Mr President has done is to protect everybody in Nigeria, millions could be disenfranchised and we don’t want that.”
“We don’t have to use a fire brigade approach; it is too close to the elections, and that is the reason for the ECOWAS protocol. It is too late in the game to begin to tinker with the rules,” Gnajabiamila said.