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Electoral bill: Overriding Buhari would have led to constitutional crisis – Lawmaker

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Senator Sadiq Umar (APC -Kwara) on Friday said overriding President Muhammadu Buhari on the Electoral Amendment Act Bill by the National Assembly will have plunged the country into a constitutional crisis.

Umar disclosed this when he interacted with the Correspondents Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Ilorin.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Rules and Business said the senators decided not to act on the matter following the decision of the House of Representatives to stand down debate on the President’s letter.

DAILY POST recalls that Buhari, on Monday, officially rejected the bill which was passed by the National Assembly a month ago.

His decision to withhold his assent followed the inclusion of direct primary elections in the bill.

According to a letter the President sent to the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, he cited insecurity and the high cost of conducting the direct primary as his reasons for rejecting the bill.

“What happened was that after the National Assembly passed the Electoral Amendment Act Amendment Bill, the president wrote back to us giving reasons why he could not assent to it,” Umar said.

“We believe some of the reasons, some we don’t, for the senate, we were ready to override the president at that time.”

Umar said, however, that the House didn’t address the President’s letter.

He said, “They felt it was a hot matter that needs more consultations and engagement and kept it in abeyance to pass the budget with a plan to return to it after coming back from the holiday.

“For us, we were prepared to do what we wanted to do, but given our rules and constitutional provision, even if we eventually overruled the President in the Senate, it would have been null and void because there has to be concurrence by the two chambers.

“So, the senators also bought into the decision of the green chamber to consult with our people so that when we resume, we will do what the people want us to do or what is best for Nigeria.”

Umar said the senate was not a rubber stamp of the executive and justified the approval of all loans requested by the President.

“The popular saying is that Nigeria is very rich, but that saying is erroneous when you juxtapose it with our revenue and population.

“The amount of money we need to revamp the education sector alone, the whole money available to the government cannot do it and the same thing goes for all other sectors such as health,” Umar said.