Electoral Act: 67 Senators Sign To Override President Buhari

• Lawmakers, legal experts parley

Pro-President’s senators’number reduces
APC leaders’ intervention not bearing fruit
No fewer than 67 senators have endorsed the move by the apex legislative chamber to override President Muhammadu Buhari’s veto on the Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2018, New Telegraph reliably learnt at the weekend.

A source in the apex legislative chamber, who spoke to our correspondent, but pleaded not to be mentioned in print, disclosed that 67 senators had already signed a Pro- Senate register seeking to override the veto. The source claimed that the number of signatures in the register had increased from the initial 63 last week to 67, expressing optimism that the number might exceed the twothirds requirement, which is 73 senators.

The breakdown of the senators who have signed to override the President shows: 10 senators from South-West; 15 from South- South; 13 from South-East, 12 from North-Central, 10 from North-East and seven from the North-West. Their identity is being kept as top secret. The source noted that some senators, for fear of victimization, were sitting on the fence, claiming that those in this category were more than 20, whom the source said that the pro- Senate faction was working hard to win to its side in the override task.

This is happening in spite of the intervention of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC), seeking to stop the National Assembly from going ahead with the plan to use its constitutional powers to defeat Buhari’s veto. It was learnt that the senators and members of the House of Representatives were yet to see concrete evidence of the party to sincerely achieve peace between the National Assembly and the Presidency after the visit of the Chief John Odigie-Oyegun-led NWC to the legislative chambers.

Buhari had withheld assent to the bill, claiming that its passage would infringe on the constitutional powers of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as well as portray the National Assembly as legislating for the states on local government management, contrary to the 1999 Constitution which empowers the state assemblies to make laws for the state. However, further in quiries by New Telegraph showed that the Legal Department of the National Assembly had faulted all the points raised by President Buhari in vetoing the bill.

Consequently, the Legal Department asked the National Assembly to disregard the constitutional questions raised by the President and carry on with the planned throwing out of his veto if it wishes to do so.

Furthermore, our correspondent learnt from a source close to the Senate leadership that based on this legal advice, the National Assembly members had started collating signatures on a possible override of the Buhari’s veto. Since the Senate passed the controversial amendments to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2018 on February 14, the chamber had been divided into two factions namely: the pro- Buhari Senators who now operate under the umbrella of Presidential Support Group (PSG) and the pro- Senate Group. Reliable sources told New Telegraph that the Pro-Senate wing was currently enjoying the majority so far while hinting that the Pro-Buhari Senators were also unrelenting in their quest to truncate the override plan.It was, however, learnt that as at yesterday, the number of senators in this group was 15, contrary to speculations peddled in the media that they had got up to 49 members.

A source told our correspondent that the struggle was full of horse trading and a lot of intrigues, disclosing that the pro-Senate Group had infiltrated the ranks of the pro-Buhari group to give them a false sense of hope.

News Telegraph

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