JUST IN: Electoral bill: Senate to ‘consult’ House of Reps on way forward

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The Senate will consult the House of Representatives on how to respond to President Muhammadu Buhari’s veto of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, has said.

Mr Lawan said the consultation with their counterparts at the House is necessary according to the constitutional provisions.

He made this known at the start of the plenary on Wednesday. His announcement was a sequel to a closed-door session, which lasted for about an hour.

“The Senate, in a closed session, discussed the way forward on how the Senate will respond to the letter from Mr president on the Electoral Amendment Bill.

“The Senate consequently resolved to consult with the House of Representatives in January when both chambers will be in session.

“Presently, the House of Reps has gone on recess and we all know the constitutional provision is for the Senate and the House to jointly take the appropriate action,” he said.

He said the Senate also resolved to consult their constituents during the holiday.

“The Senate believes that our constituents have a role to play as major stakeholders in the laws that we make in the National Assembly,” Mr Lawan added.

Mr Buhari had written to both chambers of the National Assembly on Tuesday, communicating his decision to reject the bill.

He cited insecurity and the high cost of conducting direct primaries as his reasons for declining assent to the legislation. He also said it would infringe on the rights of Nigerians to participate in governance and democracy.

READ ALSO: Electoral Bill: Over 73 senators ready to override Buhari’s veto – Lawmaker

PREMIUM TIMES reported that over 73 senators had indicated interest to override the president’s veto of the bill.

Rivers State senator, George Sekibo, had said the signatures collected from the senators willing to override the president cut across party lines.

“By the law, we have the power to override him, in Section 58(4) and (5) of the Constitution. So, if the Constitution gives us the power to do so, we will use our powers to do it … Yes, we are compiling signatures. We have gotten more than 73 persons prepared to override the veto,” he said.

He had, on Tuesday, asked the Senate to discuss the president’s veto, urgently.

The Senate will need at least two-thirds of its 109 members to vote in support of overriding the president’s veto if the matter is put to the vote.

This means the 73 senators make up the exact number that is required.

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